The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), a major trade association for leading internet gambling groups in Europe, notes that EU ministers have acknowledged for the first time that a purely national approach is insufficient to deal with online gambling. A spokesman for the association opines that the this paves the way for increased cooperation at the European level.
EGBA points to a weighty document titled “Council Conclusions on the Framework for Gambling and Betting in the Member States of the European Union” published Friday, which it claims represents a landmark in the policy discussion surrounding online gambling.
This is the first unanimous position that member states have reached since they began debating online gambling in the Council in 2008, and will provide additional impetus to the recently announced Commission´s Green Paper consultation, EGBA advised in a statement today.
EGBA Secretary General, Sigrid Ligné, says in the statement: “The importance of these conclusions for online gambling in the EU cannot be underestimated. The Member States expressly support an in-depth discussion on online gambling in the Internal Market as proposed by Commissioner Barnier [head of the European Commission].
“For the first time they have also unanimously agreed to work on very practical measures to improve cross-border cooperation. EGBA commends the Belgian Presidency for its hard work and this remarkable result,” Ligne said.
The member states agreed on a number of actions that national regulatory authorities could undertake that will improve cooperation between them. These include cooperation on consumer protection, sports integrity, minimising unnecessary administrative burdens and the sharing of best practice in relation to responsible gambling measures.
“Since Commissioner Barnier announced the Green Paper, the debate on online gambling is evolving rapidly,” Ligne commented. “The landscape has changed. Less than a year ago, these conclusions would have been unthinkable. EGBA fully supports the Commission in its efforts to issue the Green Paper as soon as possible.”