Yesterday the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) called on the European Commission to “curb market fragmentation and protect consumers.”
A porous, patchwork approach has produced different levels of protection, according to the lobbying group. Restrictive, protectionist legislation “closes the door” to regulated operators, encouraging consumers to seek unlicensed sites.
“We deplore the situation today where we see 27 ‘mini-markets’ for gambling in Europe,” said Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA.
“We are calling for the introduction of European rules to ensure proper protection for consumers and maintain a crime-free environment throughout the EU, while affording open, fair and transparent licensing conditions for EU-regulated operators,” she added.
Ligné and the EGBA also announced a formal complaint with the Commission against Germany’s new gaming legislation, which is not in line with EU law.
“Germany is in the process of allocating licenses on the basis of a highly contentious tendering procedure which appears…not to be designed to pursue the declared purpose of conducting an open, fair and transparent Europe-wide call for bids.”
The EGBA has accused the Commission of “failing in its role as guardian of the treaties.” In a speech in June 2012, Michel Barnier, the Internal Market and Services Commissioner, promised to reopen investigations into states in breach of EU law.
Ligné declared: “The Commission wants the online single market to work as effectively as the offline market in promoting economic growth. Can the Commission therefore afford to sit back and ignore an online industry which is set to grow from €8.5 billion in 2010 to €13 billion in 2015?”
The Commission’s report outlining plans to reform regulation, delayed last month, is scheduled for mid-to-late October.