A study conducted by City university London and commissioned by European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) unveils that EU consumer protection guidelines for online gambling have been fully implemented only in Denmark, whereas other EU member states are still trailing in that regard.
Not having these guidelines implemented as required makes for potentially harmful surroundings, as online gamblers are put at risk and left exposed to unequal levels of protection across the European Union.
The review shed light on the implementation of selected provisions of European Union Commission Recommendation 2014/478/EU across the member states...
...the main conclusion being that the primary objective of the Recommendation has not been achieved.
More Failures than Success Stories
In the official report, it is stated that “Only one jurisdiction (Denmark) appears to have implemented the Recommendation’s principles fully. In all remaining jurisdictions, at least one recommended principle has not been implemented in the national laws.”
It is further said that several jurisdictions are more lenient or “do not exist and consistency is lacking,” with specific countries named as the Netherlands, where online gambling is still illegal, whereas in Slovenia and Ireland, there are no specific regulations for it.
The study reviewed the implementation of measure that are of big concern for players; identification, protection of the minors and general social responsibilities.
The study suggests that “regulation of online gambling substantially diverges between Member States, exposing online players to varied levels of consumer.”
It also finds that 25 countries require players to open an account in order to play...
...whereas 22 countries demand that players identities must be verified in order to open the gambling account.
In terms of protection of the underage people, it has been found that all EU members have a minimum age requirement for gambling, most common being 18 (which is the age limit set in 22 countries). Also, only 13 countries require the 'no underage gambling' sign to be displayed on ads.
23 countries require operators to offer self-exclusion and other responsible gambling options, while 14 countries have founded national registers of self-excluded players. Temporary self-exclusions can be revoked in 11 jurisdictions, while permanent self-exclusion can be terminated in all jurisdictions.
Agreeing on Common Standards
EGBA's conclusion states that “the lack of universal adoption of the Recommendation's principles provides a strong indication that voluntary measures are unlikely to exert sufficient influence across all Member State's governments.”
With the majority of regulators seeing the need to bigger similarities and closer cooperation, the study recalls the words of Jenny Williams from UK House of Commons who said: “the holy grail, the answer, is for us all to agree on common standards and a common way of compliance and enforcement.”
Finally, the review recommends that EU Commission re-evaluates de-prioritizing gambling-related matters...
...as the Recommendation failed to ensure consistence across all jurisdictions.
“Consumer Protection in EU Online Gambling Regulation”, egba.eu, December 8, 2018.