BUSINESS

European Union to create action plan to crack down on illegal online gambling

TAGs: government, Online Gambling

European Union flagThe European Union has called into action the need to crack down on so-called illegal gambling and unregulated online gambling with an action plan that will be published later this year.

In a speech made at the European Parliament Conference in Brussels, EU internal marketing chief Michel Barnier addressed the need to propose measures that will effectively regulate and supervise legal gambling sites while clamping down on the illegal websites that offer gambling services.

Barnier said that the whole scope of details surrounding this plan won’t be available until later this year, but he did identify areas of importance that should be tackled in any future action. One of these areas, he noted, is the protection of consumers and citizens of Member states, particularly minors. “Children use the Internet everyday,” he said. “We have to find ways to stop them from gaining access to betting and gambling sites.”

He also touched on technical solutions in the form of filters and age verification tools that while effective, should still be steered in the right direction to ensure that it serves its purpose of preventing minors from accessing gambling sites.

In addition, Barnier emphasized the need to develop a basic set of rules that will be applicable throughout all the Member States to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their nationalities, are protected ‘wherever they are and whichever legal site they are connected to’. There also needs to be a more pro-active effort in espousing responsible advertising and according to Barnier, it’s not just all about signs saying that access to the site is prohibited for minors, but more so on giving stern reminders that uncontrolled gambling could have adverse effects on someone’s financial, social and health standing if they are not able to control it.

“We already have in Europe legislation to protect the interests of vulnerable consumers whatever the product or service they buy, such as rules banning aggressive or misleading commercial practices,” the EU chief marketing chief said. “We need to consider how best to supplement these general rules with specific rules on online gambling.”

From there, Barnier dived into specifics of protecting its citizens from potential fraud and the need for greater clarity in the application of the Money-Laundering Directive to betting and gambling while also stressing the need to have a level playing field for all regulated operators in the EU (online or off-line).

Barnier’s last point in his speech was to emphasize the importance of keeping the integrity of sports intact and doing whatever course of action that needs to be done in order to ensure the eradication of matches being tainted by unscrupulous circumstances. ” We have to guarantee effective cooperation between the national regulators, online gambling operators and sports federations to prevent match fixing,” he pointed out.

“The immediate priority is to create the basis for European action to to support the integrity of sport.”

With the basic tenets of the methodology already laid out, Barnier went to discussing how these objectives can be translated into a specific plan of action. The EU internal marketing chief touched on a couple of ways to accomplish that: involve the Member States and develop administrative cooperation and encourage the development of an attractive range of legal gambling opportunities where it is allowed.

Talking about the first way, Barnier proposed for a group of experts made up of representatives of the Member States to contribute to the preparation and evaluation of European initiatives.

“We must continue to develop a close and privileged relationship with the regulators,” he said.

Regarding the need to develop a ‘range of legal gambling opportunities’, Barnier touched on the importance for consumers to determine and distinguish between legal and illegal gambling sites and the role the Member States have in leading into making the right decisions on what site are allowable and what sets are not. On the same token, Barnier also addressed those legal operators to be able to offer attractive products for them to be a credible alternative to the illicit sites.

“Otherwise,” he said, “consumers will continue to turn to illicit and unregulated providers.”The European Union has called into action the need to crack down on so-called illegal gambling and unregulated online gambling with an action plan that will be published later this year.

In a speech made at the European Parliament conference in Brussels, EU internal marketing chief Michel Barnier addressed the need to propose measures that will effectively regulate and supervise legal gaming sites while clamping down on the illegal websites that offer gambling services.

Barnier said that the whole scope of details surrounding this plan won’t be available until later this year, but he did identify areas of importance that should be tackled in any future action. One of these areas, he noted, is the protection of consumers and citizens of Member states, particularly minors. “Children use the Internet everyday,” he said. “We have to find ways to stop them from gaining access to betting and gambling sites.”

He also touched on technical solutions in the form of filters and age verification tools that while effective, should still be steered in the right direction to ensure that it serves its purpose of preventing minors from accessing gambling sites.

In addition, Barnier emphasized the need to develop a basic set of rules that will be applicable throughout all the Member States to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their nationalities, are protected ‘wherever they are and whichever legal site they are connected to’. There also needs to be a more pro-active effort in espousing responsible advertising and according to Barnier, it’s not just all about signs saying that access to the site is prohibited for minors, but more so on giving stern reminders that uncontrolled gambling could have adverse effects on someone’s financial, social and health standing if they are not able to control it.

“We already have in Europe legislation to protect the interests of vulnerable consumers whatever the product or service they buy, such as rules banning aggressive or misleading commercial practices,” the EU chief marketing chief said. “We need to consider how best to supplement these general rules with specific rules on online gambling.”

From there, Barnier dived into specifics of protecting its citizens from potential fraud and the need for greater clarity in the application of the Money-Laundering Directive to betting and gambling while also stressing the need to have a level playing field for all regulated operators in the EU (online or off-line).

Barnier’s last point in his speech was to emphasize the importance of keeping the integrity of sports intact and doing whatever course of action that needs to be done in order to ensure the eradication of matches being tainted by unscrupulous circumstances. ” We have to guarantee effective cooperation between the national regulators, online gambling operators and sports federations to prevent match fixing,” he pointed out.

“The immediate priority is to create the basis for European action to to support the integrity of sport.”

With the basic tenets of the methodology already laid out, Barnier went to discussing how these objectives can be translated into a specific plan of action. The EU internal marketing chief touched on a couple of ways to accomplish that: involve the Member States and develop administrative cooperation and encourage the development of an attractive range of legal gambling opportunities where it is allowed.

Talking about the first way, Barnier proposed for a group of experts made up of representatives of the Member States to contribute to the preparation and evaluation of European initiatives.

“We must continue to develop a close and privileged relationship with the regulators,” he said.

Regarding the need to develop a ‘range of legal gambling opportunities’, Barnier touched on the importance for consumers to determine and distinguish between legal and illegal gambling sites and the role the Member States have in leading into making the right decisions on what site are allowable and what sets are not. On the same token, Barnier also addressed those legal operators to be able to offer attractive products for them to be a credible alternative to the illicit sites.

“Otherwise,” he said, “consumers will continue to turn to illicit and unregulated providers.”

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