European Commission dismisses “Expert Group on Online Gambling”
The European Commission (EC) has dismissed the re-establishment of an “Expert Group on Online Gambling”, a cross (EU) member state collaborative body supported by 14 regulatory agencies.
Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) shared the EC’s response to a letter sent by its Chairman Rene Jansen on behalf of European regulators who requested reinstatement of the group that was disbanded in 2018.
European regulators consider it important to bring back the Expert Group so they can exchange knowledge and best practices on the governance of gambling. By doing so protecting national consumers from risks and other harm.
Jansen’s letter further noted that regulatory cooperation is a necessity to secure greater oversight on technical requirements and to better evaluate the legislative outcomes of member-states governing their regulated gambling marketplaces:
“The work of the Expert Group was particularly successful. We achieved results that benefited consumers, national authorities and the gambling sector and the active participation in the group also demonstrated that member states are well equipped and willing to achieve positive outcomes together. And we still believe this to be the case.”
The office of European Commissioner Thierry Breton, in response, referred to the EC’s original verdict to decommission the group in December 2017.
At the time, the Expert Group was no longer viable following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) arbitrating 30 cases related to gambling. In all cases national regulations were confirmed to supersede EU rules.
The EC then pointed out that gambling laws and standards are the domain of the individual member states. They would all have sovereignty over their choices to apply its legislative preferences to taxation, the licensing of market incumbents, industry standards and how a member state should protect its national consumers from harms.
The only time the Commission can intervene on member-states gambling laws is if there are suspicions that wider EU policies on market competition, fair business policies and state aid rule have been breached
In response to Jansen’s concerns, the EC said that gambling regulators had the support of individual policy units carrying comprehensive oversight on “anti-money laundering (DG FISMA), consumer and youth protection (DG JUST), the prevention of addiction (DG SANTE) or issues of taxation (DG TAXUD)”. The EC letter concluded:
“At this stage, our Directorate General does not intend to reverse this decision and to reinstate the Expert Group on Gambling Services under its responsibility.”
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