The European Commission (EC) has stated that it will not support the re-establishment of an ‘Expert Group on Online Gambling’ – a cross member state collaborative body supported by 14 regulatory agencies.
The national regulator of the Netherlands, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), published the EC’s response to a letter sent by its Chairman Rene Jansen on behalf of European regulators requesting to reinstate the group which had been decommissioned in 2018.
Regulators supported the reinstatement of the so-called Expert Group to share knowledge, information and methodology to effectively govern gambling and protect customers from harm.
Jansen’s letter explained that regulatory cooperation was needed for member-states to gain a greater understanding of the technical requirements needed for governing their national gambling marketplace.
The prospective group would be re-formed during a time in which the EU is undertaking significant legislative protections aimed at reshaping Europe’s digital laws and business frameworks. Such acts include the 5th AML Directive, e-ID proposals, The Digital Services Act and proposals for a standard Digital Tax.
“The work of the Expert Group was particularly successful. We achieved results that benefited consumers, national authorities and the gambling sector and the active participation in the group also demonstrated that member states are well equipped and willing to achieve positive outcomes together. And we still believe this to be the case.” Jansen’s letter read.
Issuing a response, the office of European Commissioner, Thierry Breton, referred to the EC’s original verdict to decommission the group taken in December 2017.
The expert group was deemed as no longer viable, following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) arbitrating 30 cases related to gambling, in which all casework stated that national regulations superseded EU rules.
The EC highlighted that gambling standards and legislation should be down to individual member-states, which can choose which legislation to enforce based on tax and licensing and how to protect its domestic customers.
The Commission can only intervene on member-states gambling laws if they are deemed to have breached the wider EU policies on market competition, fair business policies and state aid rules.
Replying to Jansen’s concerns on new EU business directives being formed, the EC stated that gambling regulators had the support of individual policy units carrying comprehensive oversight on “anti-money laundering (DG FISMA), consumer and youth protection (DG JUST), the prevention of addiction (DG SANTE) or issues of taxation (DG TAXUD). “
“At this stage, our Directorate General does not intend to reverse this decision and to reinstate the Expert Group on Gambling Services under its responsibility,” the EC letter concluded.