News from Online Casino Regulators

12 July 2012 – By Huseyin Yilmaz

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The European Court of Justice (ECJ) formulated online casino guidelines after the recent European Parliament statement of intent. The ECJ decision stated that a European Union Member State cannot prohibit gambling advertising from another Member State merely on grounds that the protection guaranteed in that Member State is not identical to the domestic rules. This decision comes in connection with the rejection by Austrian authorities of an advertising permit application. The advertising permit was for a casino operated in Slovenia and the regulatory authorities in Austria rejected the application. The ECJ also provided clarifications on how Member States must deal with cross border gambling advertising and other subjects on that matter.

Analysts say that, despite the ECJ’s verdict, it is very difficult to assess the levels of protection to consumers when the rules are fragmented and they are not in the interest of consumers. Besides that, this ruling again highlighted the need for harmonization of online gambling laws in EU States. The European Committee for Standardization issued some time ago the Responsible Remote Gambling Measures which are followed by its members and that surpass the requirements set out in national gambling legislations.

In mainland Europe, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain are the only countries that have established a regulatory mechanism for online gambling. Online casino gambling regulators from these four countries met with a view to foster operational cooperation. The shared objectives include protecting consumers against fraud and criminal activities, assuring the integrity of the game, preventing addiction and also fighting illegal gambling. The four regulators also formed a regulatory strategy for information exchange in the case of operators that are licensed in more than one jurisdiction. The fight against illegal operators, the possibility of a shared liquidity in certain games between the four countries and improved information on the protection of personal data were also subjects discussed at this meeting.

In the end, the regulators agreed to extend their cooperation with other European countries that have similar regulatory principles. Strategies and discussions will move forward in greater detail at the end of the year when another meeting is scheduled in Paris.

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