Commission opens consultation about on-line gambling future in the Internal Market

Although on-line gambling business has experienced a fast development in Europe over the last years, with almost 15,000 websites already identified, there are still many differences in regulations among Member states. Analysing the differences and determining how they work would be key to determine how these differing models can co-exist within the Internal Market. For that purpose the European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Green Paper on on-line gambling in the Internal Market, to gather the opinions from all interested parties.

The main purpose of the public consultation on on-line gambling in the Internal Market is to collect information from all interested stakeholders on the existing situation of the EU on-line gambling market and the key policy issues that the growth of this market gives rise to. These stakeholders can be citizens, private and public gambling operators, providers of media-related services, intermediary service providers (data storage centres, internet service providers, payment service providers, etc.), sport event organisers, good causes beneficiaries and other beneficiaries, public administrations and authorities, and other interested stakeholders, such as those with an interest in treatment or prevention of problems related to gambling and addiction.

This consultation comes in a context where a number of Member States have also embarked on a review of their gambling legislation to account for these new forms of service delivery. Furthermore, the growth of on-line gambling opportunities has given rise to the growth of an unauthorised market, which consists both of unlicensed illegal gambling and betting activity, including from third countries, as well as operators licensed in one or more Member States offering gambling services in other Member States without having obtained the specific authorisation in those countries. This situation have already brought out the debate about the need for a common framework to regulate on-line gambling.

Key policy issues of the Consultation on on-line gambling in the Internal Market

  • Definition and organisation of on-line gambling services: the Green Paper is consulting on the main advantages and/or difficulties associated with the co-existence in the EU of different national systems and practices for the licensing of on-line gambling services.
  • Related services performed and/or used by on-line gambling services providers: the Green Paper is consulting on rules and practices relating to on-line commercial communication, customer identification and regulations for payment systems for on-line gambling services and player accounts.

The consultation aims to collect information on problem gambling and addiction and the measures pursued to protect players and prevent or limit such problems. Another key issue is how to ensure the protection of minors and other vulnerable groups. In addition to consumer protection, the consultation also addresses issues related to public order, consulting on best practices to detect and prevent fraud, money laundering and other crimes.

Finally, the consultation looks at differing systems of revenue channelling for public interest activities and mechanisms for redistributing revenues from public and private on-line gambling services to the benefit of society such as the arts, education or sport.

Interested parties may submit their responses to the Green Paper until 31 July 2011. The information and data received at the end of this process will be thoroughly assessed by the Commission in determining follow-up action.