EGBA – “UK membership of the single market is the best option”

The European Gaming and Betting Association has emphasised a belief that single market membership is the best option for the UK, in what could be a crucial day for Brexit negotiations.

As Prime Minister Theresa May puts her deal before the House of Commons for a third time, the EGBA states that this option represents the best to ensure there is no disruption to cross-border payments between the UK and EU countries, which it stresses “would affect many online sectors including online gambling”.

Maarten Haijer, secretary general of the EGBA, explained: “The continuing uncertainty of the Brexit discussions is not good. Like many other economic sectors affected by the UK’s departure from the EU, the online gambling sector would welcome greater clarity on the EU-UK’s future relationship.

“Online gambling is an inherently cross-border sector, so we would prefer the UK to stay within the single market, or at least as closely aligned as possible. This would also prevent any disruption to ancillary services, such as cross-border payments.”

Haijer has also commented on a new bill approved in Ireland, which would see the creation independent gambling regulator, in addition to proposing a number of other changes to its gambling framework.

Approving the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill earlier in the month, the Irish Cabinet states that the new legislative package is designed to regulate gambling activity in the country, including for the online sector.

Welcoming government moves to establish a regulatory authority for gambling, Haijer commented:“We welcome the Irish government’s publication of a bill to introduce a regulatory authority for gambling, the implications of which we will carefully study.

“Ireland is one of only two remaining EU countries who do not currently have some form of regulation for online gambling. It is in the interests of everyone to have a well-regulated online gambling market which protects Irish players.

“We look forward to the discussions on the bill. For any new law to be a success it should be supported by a multi-license system, which ensures a competitive and attractive market for Ireland’s online gamblers and has adequate safeguards to protect them.”