Europe approves EU Online Gambling Framework
The Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee of the European Parliament have approved the latest draft communication on online Gambling. In a report titled "Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling" the Committee have agreed that online gambling requires greater cross-border co-operation and harmonisation within Europe to protect players, to protect against anti-money laundering and match-fixing and to support the fundamental principles of the open European market for European businesses.
The Communication shows that the European Parliament and Commission undertstand that online gambling can not be properly regulated on a country by country basis within Europe. The Report also highlights the need for Member States to ensure respect for European law (including European cross-border freedoms to provide services) when implementing national legislation that pursue legitimate public policy objectives in a proportionate and consistent manner.
The Communication highlights five priority areas requiring immediate action at a European level:
- compliance of national regulatory frameworks with EU law
- enhancing administrative cooperation and efficient enforcement
- protecting consumers and citizens, minors and vulnerable groups
- preventing fraud and money laundering
- safeguarding the integrity of sports and preventing match-fixing
"The proposed actions focus on online gambling services and issues linked to the free movement of services (Article 56 TFEU) and the freedom of establishment (Article 49 TFEU) in light of the growth of online gambling in the EU and the well-developed cross-border supply of such services...While Member States usually offer legitimate reasons for the restriction of crossborder gambling services, they must nonetheless demonstrate the suitability and necessity of the measure in question, in particular the existence of a problem linked to the public interest objective at stake and the consistency of the regulatory system. Member States must demonstrate that the public interest objectives they have freely chosen to ensure are being pursued in a consistent and systematic manner and they must not undertake, facilitate or tolerate measures that would run counter to the achievement of these objectives."