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European Union Plans Stricter Rules On Remote Gambling

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

25 October 2012


The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has welcomed the completion of a European Union (EU) Green Paper, 'Towards a comprehensive European Framework for online gambling', which proposes to enhance the safeguards in place to protect consumers, mitigate match-fixing and money laundering, and challenge member states' regimes that infringe EU law.

The Green Paper proposes:

  • Formalizing the exchange of information and cooperation between European gambling regulators by 2013;
  • Centralizing enforcement against non-compliant operators and fraudulent users at EU level, using enhanced measures, such as payment blocking and disabling access to websites;
  • Adopting recommendations on common protection of consumers and on responsible gambling advertising in 2013;
  • Extending the scope of the Anti-Money Laundering Directive to all forms of gambling in 2012;
  • Promoting expertise exchange between regulators against cybercrime;
  • Exploration of the possibility of an EU standard on gambling equipment including gambling software in 2013; and,
  • The adoption of a recommendation on best practices in the prevention and combating of betting-related match fixing in 2013, which would include promoting cooperation and dialogue at an international level on the topic.

Welcoming the content of the Green Paper, the RGA in particular lauded the Commission's stated commitment to ensuring that all EU national regulatory frameworks are fully compliant with EU law.

The RGA noted that during the Green Paper process the Commission stopped taking action against the many member states whose gambling legislation or regulations breach EU law. The Communication makes clear that the Union intends to resume without delay investigations against non-compliant member states and seeks information regarding recent changes. A Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication provides "red lines" that member states should not cross when regulating or seeking to prohibit online gambling.

Clive Hawkswood, Chief Executive of the RGA, said:

“We look forward to discussing the detail of these proposals, but in the main they appear to be worthy attempts to address the headline issues. In the longer term we hope that they will lead to greater regulatory consistency across the EU and bring an end to the completely fragmented market that has developed so far. We will continue to engage and work with the European Commission and other stakeholders so that governments and consumers can have confidence in the regulation of our industry."

"It is equally important that the licensed private sector online gambling industry is treated fairly and in accordance with EU law. At the moment there are over 30 complaints against Member State laws and regulations that are apparently in breach of EU law. There has been no action since 2008 on a single complaint or infringement proceeding. The Commission's credibility as guardian of the Treaty can only be guaranteed if it now proceeds with the rapid and substantive action that Commissioner Barnier has indicated will take place."

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining the new possibilities that offshore e-commerce open up for business, and analysing the offshore jurisdictions that have led the way in offering professional e-commerce regimes for international business, with a particular focus on e-gaming, is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp
TAGS: tax | business | European Commission | law | enforcement | offshore | gambling | legislation | offshore e-gaming | standards | regulation | Europe

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