New European Commission report on evaluation of regulatory tools for enforcing online gambling
On 31 January 2019, the European Commission published the report “Evaluation of regulatory tools for enforcing online gambling rules and channelling demand towards controlled offers”. While there is no obligation for the European Commission to act on the findings of this report, the report provides for a broad range of interesting findings, facts and conclusions that we can expect to be referenced to in different contexts in the future.
The report is a result of a Call for Tender (No 641/PP/GRO/IMA/17/1131/9610) for a Study to “ascertain which enforcement tools EU/EEA Member States use, how effective they are and how the regulators’ enforcement strategies can be optimised, thus developing a framework for evaluating the effectiveness of enforcement”. The contract was awarded to the Queen Mary University of London, the research was led by Prof Dr Julia Hӧrnle. Arjan van ‘t Veer and Jutta Buyse were two of the experts interviewed for this study.The publication of this report does not bind the European Commission to any action. The action of commissioning of such a study can be regarded as stemming from the 2012 Commission Communication “Towards a Comprehensive European Framework for Online Gambling” which featured as one of the priority areas for action the enhancement of administrative cooperation and efficient enforcement. The principle of such a study had been welcomed inside the EC Expert group on gambling with representatives from Member States, whose mandate expired in December 2018.
The Research Team (1) developed a survey containing five questionnaires sent to all gambling regulators in the EU and EEA and conducted 35 interviews with experts, including the EL Secretary General and his Deputy; (2) carried out case studies in the form of a cartography experiment concerning blocked domains and a study on influencers promoting betting on Twitter; (3) carried out an extensive literature review.
The report presents a very useful collection of data and facts from throughout Europe. It is evident that substantial effort was put into gathering examples from many Member States.
The conclusions and recommendations
The study includes a number of remarkable conclusions, such as.:
- “International co-operation is crucial in the interconnected world of online gambling. International co-operation can take many different forms and degrees, but all international co-operation in this area is better than a purely national, isolated approach”
- Effective enforcement also requires regulators having “teeth”, i.e. they should periodically assess whether they have sufficient enforcement tools and powers.
- “One issue in respect of transnational co-operation is whether EU/EEA Member States could mutually ensure that gambling operators authorised in their jurisdiction do not provide services to another EU/EEA Member State where their services are unauthorised.”
- The Researchers advise a wider technical study examining the use of social media by affiliates with a view to ensuring that (1) advertising is marked as such and (2) that gambling advertising complies with regulation.
Link to the full Report/Study
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