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European Parliament to Vote on Gambling Report

Last month John Penrose, Britain’s minister for tourism and heritage, criticised calls for “Europe-wide harmonised” regulation, urging the European Union to “respect” each member’s right to regulate online gambling at the state level.

Members of European Parliament (MEPs), however, look set to vote next week in favour of more coordinated regulation. A report drafted by Germany’s Jürgen Creutzmann calls for the EU to address gambling concerns such as addiction and fraud in a more unified effort.

The report received widespread support from the European Parliament’s industry committee last month. Creutzmann said that while the proposal calls for a more harmonised effort, it recognises member states’ rights to regulate online gambling in line with their “traditions and cultures.”

Many hope the European Commission will propose some sort of EU-wide gambling legislation. Sigrid Ligné, secretary-general of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), said earlier this week that a move towards common standards was necessary to avoid a fragmented system consisting of 27 nations.

Ligné also lashed out at the European Commission for failing to take national governments whose gambling legislation is out of line with EU law to the European Court of Justice. “The Commission’s inactivity continues to embed illegal behaviour,” she said.

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