Out-Law News 1 min. read

EU Commission launches online gambling consultation

The European Commission is reviewing online gambling laws across Europe and will use the evidence it gathers to decide whether or not new laws are needed.

The Commission has launched a consultation on the state of the industry, which it says generated revenues of €6 billion in 2008 and will generate double that by 2013.

"The primary aim of the Green Paper consultation, launched today, is therefore to obtain a facts-based picture of the existing situation in the EU on-line gambling market and of the different national regulatory models," said a Commission statement. "The Commission seeks the views of stakeholders and wishes to collect detailed information and data on key policy issues such as organisation of on-line gambling services and enforcement of applicable laws; consumer protection and other relevant public policy challenges as well as commercial communications and payment services."

The results of the consultation will be used to decide what "follow up action" is required from it. The Commission said that the process will help it to decide on "the appropriateness and effectiveness of current rules applicable to on-line gambling services at EU level in terms of ensuring the overall coherence of national systems and ... whether further cooperation at EU level might assist Member States to more effectively achieve the objectives of their gambling policy".

Internal Markets and Services Commissioner Michel Barnier said that the Commission wanted to make sure the laws in place were the right ones because online gambling has a social as well as a commercial role in society.

"The on-line gambling market in the EU continues to grow rapidly and generates important revenues that are sometimes channelled into good causes," he said. "Its expansion must go hand-in-hand with a determination to protect our citizens, especially minors, and to ensure that offers of these types of services within the EU are sound and well-regulated. It responds to calls from the European Parliament and the Member States for us to address these questions jointly."

The consultation would focus on consumer protection; public order, and enforcement amongst other issues, the Commission statement said.

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