After a EU Green Paper on online gambling that has been beset with delays one commentator is hoping that the upcoming consultation will create a “competitive landscape” for firms within the EU.
Khalid Ali, chairman of the European Sports Security Association (ESSA), spoke to website EurActiv, in an interview conducted ahead of the launch of the consultation next week.
The latest delay occurred earlier this week as the EU went all Governor Christie on us by deferring. The consultation itself will seek to address “all relevant public policy challenges and possible internal market issues resulting from the rapid development of both illicit and unlawful online gambling offers directed at citizens located in the EU,” according to a draft copy of the Green Paper seen by EurActiv.
ESSA was originally set up in the wake of the Hoyzer Scandal in 2006 to report suspicious betting patterns in sport across Europe.
“If you do have an open market with some sort of harmonisation, then the benefits for sport will be great, because there will be a lot of commercial agreements in place between operators and sports federations,” Ali said.
The chairman believes that a whole new audience has been brought to sport thanks to the advent of online gambling, and in particular live streaming of games on websites.
Ali also championed the efforts of private companies, explaining that the “Private industry is really working hard to put in place standards that benefit consumers.”
Ali finished by saying “Many industries don’t want regulation, but the online gambling industry actually does want regulation: it just has to be the right type.
“What we really want is an internal market that works. The Internet is borderless, and likewise, we need to have a landscape within Europe where there these companies can flourish.”
It’s fairly unlikely that regulation will happen at a Europe-wide level soon mainly due to the fact that most countries seem content with balkanization ahead of consolidation.