Online Gambling in the European Union Growing Fast

Published Friday, September 18, 2015 -
Online Gambling in the European Union Growing Fast

A recent report from the European Commission has estimated the gambling market in the European Union at approximately 84.9 billion euro with growth near 3% every year. There are about 6.8 million consumers of online gambling services in the Union. In 2012, online gambling represented more than 12% of the EU’s gambling market with annual revenues of over 10 billion euro. Annual revenues in 2015 for online gambling are expected to increase to 13 billion euro.

As yet there has been no sector-specific legislation for gambling services initiated by the European Commission. In 2012, the European Commission adopted the Communication 'Towards a comprehensive European framework on online gambling' an action plan to enhance clarity on gambling issues. The Commission in focusing on compliance of national regulatory frameworks with EU law; enhanced administrative cooperation and efficient enforcement; protecting consumers, minors and vulnerable groups; preventing fraud and money laundering; safeguarding the integrity of sports and preventing match-fixing.

The European Union has a complicated situation when it comes to regulation of the activity in such a wide range of differing regulatory frameworks. Some member countries have monopolistic regimes operated by a one private or public enterprise. Other nations have established licensing systems with more than one operator. Meanwhile operators licensed in one or more member countries are able to offer gambling services in other countries without the authorisation normally required in those other countries. Online gambling is rapidly becoming an established activity in many jurisdictions in Europe with operators growing to keep up with increased demand. Customers of online gambling services in Europe search for more competitive online gambling offerings and in doing so the consumer may be exposed to risks such as fraud and illegal sites.

Although the European Commission has many issues on its agenda the creation of a regulatory framework that satisfies all the requirements of Union members needs to receive more attention if it is ever to be completed.

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