Gambling Association Responds to European Commission Report

Recently the European Commission met and released a new report titled Towards a Comprehensive European Framework for Online Gambling. The EC communication proposes several regulatory initiatives and addresses several areas of importance to the internet bingo and gaming industry. In 2011 the commission launched its Green Paper consultation on the European Union’s remote gambling industry. During that period the commission stopped taking action against member states whose online gambling restrictions violated EU laws. The new report indicated that the commission will resume investigations of non-compliant member nations.

The Remote Gambling Association released a statement after the release of the EC’s report. The European Commission is proposing to extend the reach of the current Anti Money Laundering Directive to apply to all forms of gambling in the EU. The EC plans to set up a group to encourage cooperation between member states and creating a standard testing system has been discussed. Match fixing was also addressed in the report. The Remote Gambling Association said that while it supports the recommendation it is confident that the betting industry is capable of playing its part in fighting corruption in sports. The association said “it is essential that this initiative is not used as a pretext for sport to be given any control over the betting sector or the products it offers.”

Remote Gambling Association’s Chief Executive, Clive Hawkswood issued a statement and said the association is looking forward to a discussion of the EC’s proposals. Hawkswood said of the proposals “in the main they appear to be worthy attempts to address the headline issues.” Hawkswood continues and said “In the longer term, “we hope that they will lead to greater regulatory consistency across the EU and bring an end to the completely fragmented market that has developed so far.” He also said that the association will continue to work with the commission and others so that consumers and governments can have confidence in industry regulation. Hawks woos said that it is important that remote gaming companies be treated fairly and in accordance with European Union laws.

Currently the EU has several sets of laws and regulations. Some countries (Germany) ban online gaming while others have regulations in place to protect state monopolies. Some countries like the UK have a thriving licensed and regulated online gaming market. In the UK internet bingo is one of the largest sectors of the remote gaming industry and several operators are members of the Remote Gambling Association. Hopefully new markets will be opened and the industry will continue to thrive.