Online Gambling Subject of EU Internal Market Committee Session

This week, the European Union parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection discussed the regulation of online gambling.

From the meeting, European People's Party (EPP) spokesperson Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP revealed her opinion, saying: “Online gambling must be accompanied with strong means of consumer protection. Gambling is an economic activity of a special nature, where restrictions are needed for consumer protection, fraud prevention, the fight against money laundering and the preservation of public order and public health.

“This can be achieved by respecting the principle of subsidiarity where Member States have the right to determine how the offer of online gambling services is organised and regulated. Simultaneously, common principles of consumer protection have to be improved.”

In line with this, she said, reliable electronic identification is crucial to ensure a high level of protection for players, particularly minors. It will not only restrict gaming accounts to one per person, but also fight against money laundering.

She added: "Online gambling may involve a greater risk of addiction than traditional offline gambling. Therefore any customer self-excluding or surpassing their gambling limits from one gambling operator should have the option to be automatically self-excluded from all other licensed gambling operators.

“It should also be taken into account that the fight against match fixing requires more effective cooperation between public authorities, law enforcement agencies, the sport industry, gambling operators and gambling regulators,” Pietikäinen concluded.

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