Europeans are not being afforded the appropriate and necessary protections for online gambling, after it was found that all EU members states, except Denmark, have not fully implemented consumer guidelines.
A study titled “consumer protection in EU online gambling regulation,” published by the City University London and commissioned by the European Gaming and Betting Association, has found that individuals are at risk by being left exposed to unequal and inadequate levels of consumer protection.
The EGBA has issued a plea to the European Parliament and European Commission to take into account its new findings, and introduce mandatory rules to ensure that consumers are fully protected by online gambling regulation in EU countries.
Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, explained: “Because online gambling in Europe is regulated at national-level, the level of consumer protection provided to players varies depending on where they reside in the EU – and this is entirely inadequate for what is an inherently borderless digital sector.
“Guidelines have proven insufficient, and we call on EU policymakers to act by introducing mandatory rules to ensure there is a consistent high-level of consumer protection, and uniform safety nets for all online gamblers in Europe.”
Via the study, the national implementation of a variety of key provisions for consumer protection underwent review, with “major gaps” evident in several cases.
Highlighting its results as part of the review, only 14 member states were found to have established national self-exclusion registers, with only 13 requiring ‘no underage gambling’ signs on advertisements.
Through the guidelines, the commission states that it aims to encourage a uniform high-level of protection for online gamblers across EU member states, done so through the introduction of common principles addressing player identification requirements, the prevention of minors from gambling and social responsibility measures.
In a media release, the EGBA states that “the commission committed to evaluating the implementation of its guidelines by EU member states by 19 January 2017 – but has failed to do so”.
Adding: “The study attributes this failure to the voluntary, non-binding nature of the guidelines and concludes that mandatory EU rules are needed to ensure a uniform, high-level of consumer protection for online gamblers in Europe”.