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European Commission publishes “Evaluation of regulatory tools for enforcing online gambling rules and channelling demand towards controlled offers”

Posted on 8 February 2019 by Alan Littler

The European Commission has recently published the Report Evaluation of regulatory tools for enforcing online gambling rules and channelling demand towards controlled offers, undertaken by a multidisciplinary team at Queen Mary University London, of which Dr Alan Littler was part.

In October 2012 the European Commission’s Communication Towards a Comprehensive European framework for Online Gambling identified the enhancement of administrative cooperation and efficient enforcement as a priority area, with “effective enforcement” being “essential for the attainment of public interest objectives”. The research was completed during the course of 2018 and presented to the final meeting of the Expert Group on Gambling Services last December. The Report clearly demonstrates that a need exists for continued interaction between regulatory authorities at the European level.

First-hand information was obtained from various sources, primarily on the basis of a questionnaire sent to national gambling regulatory authorities which was followed by interviews in many cases. Numerous different parties involved in the sector were also interviewed, including payment service providers, software providers, advertisers and trade associations.

Not only was attention directed towards the challenges associated with sanctioning operators, players and intermediaries but also towards regulatory practices around website blocking, payment blocking and advertising. The latter also addressed the challenges associated with advertising via social media.

The vast majority of regulatory regimes for remote gambling are state-centric, which contrasts with remote gambling as an activity which tends to be cross-border in nature. Enforcement, in terms of both approaches and competences, also differs widely between EU Member States whilst taking on a domestic focus. In his farewell speech at the end of January 2019 Joop Pot, the outgoing director of the Kansspelautoriteit, observed that supervision by national authorities on the basis of different national laws and regulations is “not effective and not efficient”. The Report is just as timely now as it was in the runup to the 2012 Communication.

The Report can be found here.

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Alan Littler

Gaming Lawyer

About the author

Dr Alan Littler advises the national and international gambling industry as a member of the Gaming Practice. 

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