Concerns Raised by Consumer Rights Directive

Agreement excludes gamblers

The latest reports that gambling has been left out of the general scope of the Consumer Rights Directive between EU institutions seems to have caused much disappointment at the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), which made the following comment:

Gamblers left out of the Consumer Rights Directive

In the context of the agreement just reached between the EU institutions on the final text of the Consumer Rights Directive, the RGA regrets that the interest of some Member States in excluding gambling from the scope of any piece of EU legislation has prevailed over the protection of online gamblers.

The RGA is committed to promoting a well-regulated industry that provides a secure environment in which consumers can enjoy their gambling in a responsible manner and where appropriate safeguards are in place.

The RGA welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a Consumer Rights Directive, which laid down general requirements for businesses in their contracts with consumers. These safeguards were not specific to one economic activity and in the case of online gambling they would have been an efficient complement to the provisions aimed at avoiding underage and problem gambling, which are for the moment laid down at national level.

The Directive would have imposed some obligations on online gambling operators but in no way would it have afforded them unconditional and unlimited access to all national markets – at EU level, the crossborder provision of gambling services would have remained governed by Article 56 TFEU.

Unfortunately, during the negotiations, some Member States in the Council succeeded in excluding gambling from the general scope of the Directive. Such exclusion deprives players of the additional protection afforded by the Directive. It is also inconsistent with the current approach of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, which applies to gambling services and prohibits in all circumstances from claiming that products are able to facilitate winning in games of chance.

Another comment was made by the Association CEO Clive Hawkswood, who said: “We are truly disappointed by the exclusion of gambling from the scope of the Consumer Rights Directive, which shows, once again, that some Member States will do anything to protect their own gambling monopolies, also at the expense of consumers.

"It is particularly disturbing that the same parties that falsely accuse the European private-sector online gambling industry of not wanting regulation actually do their utmost to avoid any EU obligation”.

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