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Committee Member Calls Online Gambling “a Jungle”

13 September 2011 by admin

european_unionThe member of an important European Union commission is calling for reforms to the online gambling industry. Stefano Mallia, a member of the European Economic and Social Committee, said that the status quo cannot be maintained because it is too confusing and complicated and doesn’t do enough to protect consumers. To sum up the current situation, Mallia said that the online gambling industry in Europe is “a jungle.”

With the EESC, Mallia published a Green Paper giving recommendations on how to best serve the online casino industry while protecting consumers. At the heart of the problem, according to Mallia, is a conflict between the casino operators and the EU nations. The casino operators want a totally liberalized industry, where they can freely operate in any EU nation by adhering to only one set of regulations. Most EU nations, though, want control over the industry at a national level. To complicate things, some nations, such as the UK and Malta, believe that the sector should create its own European regulatory structure.

“At the moment most member states want to maintain national control of their individual markets. On the other hand, the online gambling operators want a total liberalization of the market whereby if, for example, they have a Maltese license they are able to operate anywhere in the EU without needing any other additional lciense,” Mallia said. “The result is that we have considerable confusion in the market which is also allowing the black market to flourish.”

As a possible solution to that problem, Mallia suggests drafting EU legislation that creates a minimum level of consumer protection. All EU member states would have to adhere to at least that minimum level of regulation. Any nations that want to have higher standards than that would have that option. After the EESC debates the issue, the drafted opinion will be sent to the European Commission.

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