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EGBA calls for EU-wide standards for markers of gambling harm

| By Daniel O'Boyle
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has called for the European Commission to bring in EU-wide standards for markers of gambling harm, in order to help create consistent approaches to reducing harm across the continent.

The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) creates a number of European Standards, which are used in trade across member states.

The European Standards include a number of specifications for certain products to be sold in the EU. 

EGBA has submitted a proposal to the committee, calling for a “reliable, standardised list of markers of harm”. 

The Committee is currently conducting a ballot of its members, the national standardisation bodies of European countries, to determine whether the proposal should be approved. These bodies must vote on the proposal by the end of the year.

A number of gambling harm academics have signed a letter in support of the standard. Among those signing were Professor Sally Gainsbury of the University of Sydney, Dr Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University and Emily Arden-Close of Bournemouth University.

“As experts and organisations working to prevent gambling harm in Europe, reliable markers of harm are critical to helping us identify problem gambling behaviour and understand how it leads to gambling-related harm,” they said. “The types of gambling behaviours which are classified as markers of harm can vary across operators, harm prevention organisations and countries, which may mean that some prevention approaches are sub-optimal. 

“A well informed and shared list of markers of harm, incorporating best practices and the latest available research, would provide a trustworthy and reliable benchmark for accurately detecting risky behaviour across all game types and player contexts. 

“The creation of a standard would support a more efficient and quicker detection of risky gambling behaviour and with it help to achieve the policy objectives of national gambling authorities to protect their citizens from gambling harm.”

If the proposal is adopted, academics, health experts, authorities, operators and consumer organisations will all be consulted in the development of the standard.

Earlier this year, a study commissioned by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and conducted by Dr Margaret Carran of City University of London, found “significant differences” in how different European countries monitor and flag instances of problem gambling.

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