Industry trade body the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has reiterated its call to European policymakers to introduce a binary of rules for the online gambling sector, in the wake of a new study presented to the European Parliament’s ‘Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee’.
The EGBA continues its mandate supporting a European cross-border online betting agenda, detailing that current regulatory conditions are “hamstrung by a patchwork of national rules”. The study found that deepening EU digital single market directives to include online gambling could deliver nearly €6 billion in savings.
The EU reports evaluates the benefits of existing ‘Digital-Single-Market (DSM)’ measures and outlined the potential economic benefits for citizens and businesses by further deepening such policies.
It was stated that the EU could potentially generate €5.6 billion per year in societal welfare and consumer benefits by including the online gambling sector, said to be worth in the region of €20 billion per annum, in the DSM.
This follows the European Commission recognising the need to create more consistent consumer protection five years ago, with a recent investigation finding that the recommendation had only been fully implemented by one member state.
Varying degrees of consumer protection is one area the EGBA has consistently outlined as problematic, with gaps evident due to “28 different sets of national gambling policies which diverge significantly and create unnecessary national barriers”.
Furthermore, the group stresses that enforcement tools such as geo and payment blocking measures jeopardise player safety by pushing consumers towards betting websites operated outside the jurisdiction and reach of the EU.
The EGBA believes both could be heightened significantly through the introduction of a single set of rules apply across all member states, in order to help better regulate online gambling activities and drive standards of consumer protection.
“Introducing a single set of rules for online betting in the EU makes perfect sense – it would improve the regulation of the sector, save significant money for both consumers and companies and help better protect consumers,” said Maarten Haijer, secretary-general of the EGBA. “That is why EGBA is calling on EU policymakers to ensure that the digital single market benefits the 12 million Europeans who bet online.”