The European Gaming and Betting Association has reasserted the necessity of introducing a specific single set of consumer rights for the region’s online gambling sector, ahead of the publication of European Commission’s consumer strategy later this year.

With its member companies boasting 16.5m online customers throughout the continent, the trade association has consistently urged for more to be done ‘to bring the EU’s approach to online gambling into the 21st century.’

Introducing a specific single set of consumer rights that apply to the online gambling sector will, the Brussels-based group says, guarantee a high level of protection for consumers, increase transparency and legal certainty and lead to balanced and fair contract terms and lead to an overall increase in player security.

Despite the cross-border nature of online gambling, the EGBA states that “online players are not equally protected throughout the EU, as each member state is responsible for developing its own rules”.

In its submission the group explains: “The lack of regulatory consistency jeopardises online players’ safety, as it exposes them to the unregulated and unsafe websites of the black market, which profits to the detriment of the European economy. EGBA advocates sector-specific EU regulation for consumer and minor protection. 

“There are simple rules that can be proposed, to ensure that online players, minors and players who are at risk are equally protected. For example, self-excluded players could benefit from a European self-exclusion register, that would prohibit access to any regulated website of the EU. 

“To bridge the gap stemming from inconsistent rules on protecting minors from gambling marketing, EGBA has recently published a European code of conduct to establish minimum requirements on responsible advertising. Greater regulatory cooperation between member states can also facilitate the dialogue to achieve harmonisation. 

“To this end EGBA regrets the dissolvement of the European expert group for online gambling, as national gambling regulators are deprived from the opportunity to meet and exchange in the framework of a common platform.”

The European online gambling market is the largest market for online gambling worldwide. In 2018 total EU online gambling market generated €22.2bn in gross gaming revenue, accounting for 49.2 per cent of the global online market.