Press Releases

European Court of Justice: European Commission Correct to Issue Guidelines for Protecting Consumers Using Online Gambling Services

20.02.2018

The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has ruled[1] that the European Commission acted within its rights by issuing guidelines to member states on how to protect consumers from online gambling services. The CJEU rejected a claim[2] by the Belgian Government that the Commission had gone beyond its Treaty-based competences by issuing the guidelines and found the guidelines did not interfere with the right of Member States to regulate online gambling services. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomes the CJEU decision and supports the full adoption of the Commission guidelines by Member States. The guidelines[3], published in 2014, contain a number of practical recommendations aimed at fostering a high degree of consumer protection in Member States and prevent minors from online gambling. The Belgian Government had claimed that the guidelines interfered with Member State sovereignty and competences to regulate national gambling markets. While the guidelines are not legally binding,...

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Online Privacy: European Online Gambling Operators File Data Protection Complaint Against Unlawful Payment Blocking Scheme in Norway

18.01.2018

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has asked the Norwegian Data Protection Inspectorate (DPI) to urgently investigate a Norwegian payment blocking scheme for serious breaches of the privacy of Norwegian citizens when conducting online payments. The scheme established by the Norwegian Gaming Authority (NGA) is in contravention of Norwegian Data Protection laws and the European Convention on Human Rights according to the EGBA, representing Europe’s leading online gambling operators.  The Norwegian Payment Blocking Regulation exists since 2010 and essentially prohibits businesses from carrying out payments of bets and prizes in online gambling services which do not have a licence in Norway. Despite the NGA’s own analysis which determined the payment blocking regulation to be ineffective,[1] in March of 2017 the NGA suddenly imposed orders on Norwegian banks to block transactions to 7 identified account numbers.[2] According to the EGBA, the manner in which the NGA obtained that account number...

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Juncker’s ‘Political’ Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Courts

07.12.2017

EU-based and EU-regulated gambling operators oppose today’s decision of the Juncker Commission to discontinue its work to combat infringements of the EU single market rules in the gambling sector which has well over 20 million EU consumers. With a constant stream of court cases, over 30 consistent rulings issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and further cases pending it is evident that the online gambling sector, an inherently cross-border sector, is rife with EU law infringements and that consumers are clicking on unregulated, non-EU gambling websites. This Commission decision also conflicts with the EU’s own self-stated policy priorities, in particular the EU’s Digital Single Market programme, and is at odds with concerted efforts to enhance consumer safety and combat money-laundering and match-fixing ahead of next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia.   The infringement cases which the Commission has today officially closed without further action...

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Online Gambling: Court Rejects Non-Transparent Licensing Regimes and Prohibits Enforcement Measures

22.06.2017

Today, the CJEU manifestly ruled that enforcement actions against EU licensed operators unlawfully excluded from national licensing processes are prohibited and not in compliance with EU law (case Unibet International (C-49/16). The Court confirmed the obligation on Member States to organise transparent licensing processes and rejected EU countries’ discretion to impose enforcement measures. This ruling comes at a crucial time for countries like the Netherlands, were national legislation that has been found incompatible with the Treaties, is enforced.   The Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) found that Hungary violated the fundamental freedom to provide services guaranteed under Art 56 of the EU Treaty (TFEU) prohibiting a cross-border operator licensed in the EU to lawfully provide its services in Hungary, by failing to organise a licensing tender published according to objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate criteria. This has been precised in para. 42 stating that, where it may be...

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