EU Commission to scrutinise proposed gambling legislation
Brussels publishes recommendations on regulating online betting
Brussels is likely to scrutinise the Republic’s proposed new regulations for online betting to ensure that they are in line with European Commission- recommended principles designed to protect minors and problem gamblers.
The Government is planning new legislation that will regulate areas such as casinos, online betting and lotteries on foot of a number of reports on the area commissioned since 2006.
Yesterday the European Commission published a set of recommendations that it wants Member States to apply to their internal regimes for regulations online gambling.
These primarily included safeguards to ensure that minors – those under 18 in the Republic – cannot bet online, that advertising be socially responsible and transparent and that players get access to helplines if they are concerned about their gambling behaviour.
A spokeswoman for the commission’s internal market and services division said that it was aware that the Government intends introducing an all-encompassing gambling Bill in the near future.
“The commission will duly assess this when it is notified at the draft stage,” she said.
Officials will want to ensure that the new legislation complies with its recommendations. The EU’s document highlights that the Republic has no specific regulatory regime for online gambling. The forthcoming legislation is designed to address this.
The commission’s recommendations are designed to “provide a sufficient uniform level of protection throughout the union” according to the document that it published yesterday.
It is concerned that technology is making online gambling more accessible to EU citizens. “Consumers are drawn in by advertising – on which both commercial and state-owned gambling operators – spending significant amounts,” it says.
“Harmful commercial practices are widespread. Aggressive and misleading sales techniques, including the manner in which this is repeatedly done, results in misinformed choices and minors being attracted to gambling.”
Brussels wants member states to require that online betting operations take sufficient steps at the point where customers register to ensure that their age and identity can be verified.
It also wants rules in place to ensure that they cannot gamble online and to “minimise their contact with gambling” including through advertising or promotion.
The commission also wants a series of measures that will allow players to prevent gambling-related problems, including setting spending and staking limits, options which it says should be made available when somebody registers with a website for the first time.