EGBA Advocates Pan-European Consumer Rights for Online Gamblers

  • EGBA among stakeholders consulted by EU Commission on consumer strategy roadmap 
  • Industry group studies have shown that gambling consumers not equally protected across EU
  • Suggestions include pan-European self-exclusion register, online gambling advertising code 
European Union flag against a blue sky background
The EGBA has urged the European Commission to integrate a set of consumer rights specific to online gambling into its new consumer strategy. [Image:]

In response to the EU Commission

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called on the EU Commission to introduce a specific set of consumer rights for the online gambling sector.

Later this year, the EU Commission will publish its new consumer strategy following a period of consultation with stakeholders. The EGBA announced its own roadmap submission on Twitter:

According to the Brussels-based industry body, the said rights would ensure the protection of customers while also increasing transparency, legal certainty, and security.

The EGBA is the representative group of the major EU-based, licensed, and regulated online gambling and betting companies.

The need for consumer rights

In a statement on its website, the EGBA argued that due to differing online gambling legislation in each EU market, online gambling consumers are not equally protected across all of the Member States. The group cited results from two independent studies as evidence for this.

One EGBA study examined the advertising regulatory frameworks of 15 EU gambling markets. It found that only six countries had specific rules to protect minors from exposure to gambling ads. Another 2018 study published by the City University London found that only one EU member had implemented the Commission’s 2014 recommendations for customer protection. As a result, researchers concluded that EU online gamblers were being exposed to inadequate consumer protection.

lack of regulatory consistency jeopardizes online players’ safety”

Commenting on these findings, the EGBA said: “The lack of regulatory consistency jeopardizes online players’ safety, as it exposes them to the unregulated and unsafe websites of the black market, which profits to the detriment of the European economy.” It called for the introduction of simple rules to ensure equal protection for all online players, including those who are underage or at risk.

The EGBA’s suggestions

Included in the EGBA’s suggestions for consumer rights is a pan-European self-exclusion register to replace the market-specific self-exclusion systems currently in place across Europe. The register would prohibit listed players from accessing any regulated gambling website in the EU.

prohibit listed players from accessing any regulated gambling website

The association also pointed the commission towards its code of conduct for responsible advertising for online gambling. The pan-European code, published in April this year, sets out a list of standards for advertising content, with a specific focus on minor protection.

The EGBA’s responsible advertising code covers a number of specific areas, including content moderation, sponsorship agreement measures, and responsible gambling campaigns. So far, national gambling associations in Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal have all endorsed the guidelines.

The EGBA also criticised the dissolution of the European Expert Group for Online Gambling, deeming it detrimental to the aim of cross-border harmonization for gambling rules. The group met for the last time in December 2018 after making little progress with pan-European gambling legislation.

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