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EGBA warns of “fragmentation” in Europe’s consumer protection rules

| By Nosa Omoigui
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called for more standardised regulatory framework for consumer protection rules, after a new study showed notable progress in online gambling regulations, but also large differences between states.
EGBA calls for standard framework for consumer protection

EGBA cited the findings of a City, University of London (CUL) study which reviewed specific aspects of the consumer protection rules in EU member states, including knowing customer requirements, the protection of minors, safer gambling, and treatment support.

The study found that although most member states use similar approaches when it comes to consumer protection, there is significant variation when it comes to implementing rules.

One example given showed that 16 member states have established a national self-exclusion register for online gambling – such as the Cruks system in the Netherlands – yet the way players are added to such registers varies dramatically, as does the duration of their self-exclusion.

Furthermore, not all member states have rules which prohibit gambling advertising being sent to those who are self-excluded.

EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer has suggested that a standardised framework across member states would help iron out such issues.

“A more standardised regulatory framework would surely benefit all,” he said. “While regulations and enforcement are extremely important, the study also highlights that more could be done to strengthen prevention measures and ensure that those who are affected by harm are signposted to relevant helplines and treatment centres.

“We welcome the progress made in strengthening the consumer protection rules in EU member states. In several areas, regulatory principles are converging, but there is increasing fragmentation in how the rules are implemented and this creates a complicated compliance and enforcement map for Europe’s gambling regulators and operators, while evidently also not benefiting the consumer.”

EGBA has previously advocated for the use of a standardised framework for member states with regards to tackling money laundering in the industry.

EGBA’s inaugural sustainability report, published in July, showed that its members’ customers are using safer gambling tools more frequently than they did in 2020.

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