European Commission rejects calls to reform EU Expert Group on Gambling

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner of the internal market, has informed a collection of European gambling authorities that the governing body does not intend to re-establish the EU Expert Group on Gambling.

This comes after the European Gaming and Betting Association last month backed calls made by the gambling authorities of 14 member states to re-establish the group, with a letter submitted to the EC outlining the request.

“The work of the Expert Group was particularly successful,” it said, suggesting that it achieved results which “benefited consumers, national authorities and the gambling sector”.

It added that active participation in the group “also demonstrated that member states are well equipped and willing to achieve positive outcomes together,” adding that “we still believe this to be the case”.

Throwing its support behind the re-establishment proposal, the EGBA and member states suggested that the Expert Group would help to encourage and support more common and joined-up approaches towards regulating Europe’s gambling market.

In its reply the EC said that the European Commission sees no reason to revive the Expert Group on Gambling, and proposes that the supervisors turn to other directorates-general of the body for individual parts of the games of chance policy.

“At this stage, our directorate general does not intend to reverse this decision and to reinstate the Expert Group on gambling services under its responsibility,” the European Commission said in its response.

“However, the letter you sent us addresses many different policy issues which are related to gambling but fall under the responsibility of other Commission services, such as in the areas of anti-money laundering, consumer and youth protection, the prevention of addiction or issues of taxation.

“I therefore encourage you to get in touch with these DGs for those matters that fall under their competency. Thank you very much for your understanding.” 

Previously, the group provided a platform for gambling regulators to exchange information, share best practices and work together on joint initiatives, such as the Commission’s 2014 recommendation on consumer protection in online gambling.

The EU Expert Group on Gambling consisted of representatives from the region’s gambling authorities, but was disbanded by the Commission in 2018, despite regulators deeming it to be a success.