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EU Event Discusses Steps Towards Online Gambling Regulation

European Gaming and Betting Association Welcomes Michel Barnier's Announcement At Important EU Event

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EU Internal Markets Commissioner Michel BarnierWednesday, Jun. 27, saw an event take place at the European Parliament in which the European Commission discussed the future regulation of online gambling. The European Union (EU) Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier spoke publicly on the subject for the first time since late last year, and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has today expressed its satisfaction with Barnier’s announcement.

The Commissioner discussed two routes of action the Commission is set to take; it will take steps against Member States whose gambling regulation violates EU law by reactivating pending infringements and complaints, and will propose a number of European policy initiatives in September including the development of “a common European base of principles and measures of protection”.

Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA said, "The development of specific EU policy initiatives for the sector is essential and must go hand in hand, as confirmed now by Michel Barnier, with the EC reactivating the pending infringement procedures and complaints against national gambling legislations in breach with EU law. Full adherence with EU legal principles is the bedrock of any EU regulatory endeavor.”

The Commission recently confirmed nine pending infringement procedures and 28 new complaints against the gambling regulation of 12 different Member States. No hard action has been taken since 2008.

Commissioner Barnier highlighted the necessity for respect of EU rules, saying, "…If blatant infringements persist, I will not hesitate to propose to my colleagues that the appropriate proceedings be taken or relaunched.”

In addition to this, Barnier said, "It is also important for legal operators to be able to offer sufficiently attractive products for them to be a credible alternative to the illicit sites, otherwise consumers will continue to turn to illicit and unregulated providers.”

The Commission is backed by the European Parliament which has previously called for the Commission to act as “guardian of the Treaties”.

Michel Barnier’s entire speech from the European Parliament event can be read in full here.