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Regulators back GREF statement on illegal gambling

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
A number of European regulators – including the Dutch de Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), French l'Autorité Nationale des Jeux (ANJ), the Hungarian SZTFH and the Swedish Spelinspektionen – have backed the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF) joint statement on illegal gambling.

Since the body issued the statement at the end of March, a number of regulators have announced that they are backing the call for joint action against illegal gambling operators. GREF – which represents 36 European regulators – said that the regulators commit themselves for more cooperation in order to achieve “effective implementation” of national regulations.

The statement said that European authorities “are committed” to providing high levels of protection to consumers by promulgating safer gaming environments. It continued by asserting that all members of the organisation share common objectives in this endeavour, in particular “consumer protection and developing a fair gambling market”.

GREF said that regulators are committed to providing safer gaming enviroments

“Illegal gambling threatens the achievement of these objectives,” said the joint statement. “First, consumers who access illegal gambling sites are particularly vulnerable, as they are exposed to many risks and have no legal protection.

“Secondly, development in the regulated sector is threatened by illegal sites that are not held to the same standards we expect of our licensed operators.”

Increased collaboration between regulators

The group said that the desired result of the call to action would be increased collaboration to combat the illegal market. These would manifest through regular meetings, information exchanges, alerts, expertise, best practices and “joint actions against illegal sites”.

“This joint action will enable us to better identify and minimise illegal gambling activities, while acknowledging that each regulator remains free to define what amounts to illegal gambling and to use the enforcement tools provided by its own national regulatory framework,” read the statement.

The body also said that it expected that the common action would enable a “constructive dialogue” with online platforms, including social media operations. It also aimed to raise consumer awareness concerning the risks that players who use this platform are exposed to.

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