New study: Europe’s online gamblers are not fully protected by European regulations for online gambling

Europe’s online gamblers are not fully protected by European regulations for online gambling and are being exposed to unequal and inadequate consumer safeguards across EU member states, according to a new study published by the City University London*.

The study reviewed the implementation by member states of selected key provisions of the European Commission’s Recommendation 2014/478/EU, including safeguards for player identification, minor protection & social responsibilities. The recommendation, published in 2014, encourages member states to establish a high level of protection for consumers and minors through the adoption of a number of consumer protection principles for online gambling.

But the researchers found that only one member state, Denmark, has fully implemented the Commission’s recommendation – and major gaps exist in how member states protect online players. The substantially diverging nature of regulation of online gambling between member states has led to players being exposed to unequal and inadequate levels of consumer protection.

As a result, the study concludes that the primary objective of the Commission’s recommendation – to ensure a consistent and high level of consumer protection for online gamblers in Europe – has not been achieved.

Key findings of the study:


  • The primary objective of the European Commission’s recommendation has not been achieved. Regulation of online gambling substantially diverges between member states and this has exposed online players to varied levels of consumer protection.
  • Only one jurisdiction (Denmark) has fully implemented the Commission’s recommendation.
  • 3 countries (Ireland, Netherlands, Slovenia) currently have no regulations for online gambling – there is no legal basis to guarantee the protection of players in these countries.

Players’ identification & verification requirements

  • 25 countries legally require online players to open an online gambling account in order to play.
  • 22 countries require players’ identities to be verified upon application to open a gambling account.

Minors’ protection

  • All countries impose a minimum age requirement for gambling, with 22 countries setting a uniform age restriction at 18 years of age for all types of online gambling.
  • 13 countries require “no underage gambling” signs to be displayed on or during commercial advertisements.

Social responsibilities’ measures

  • 23 countries oblige operators to offer self-exclusion facilities for online players.
  • 14 countries have established national self-exclusion registers.
  • No country initiates automatic referral to health group organisation or treatment centres upon self-exclusion.

An executive summary of the study can be found here.

The full study can be found here.


* This study was commissioned by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA)

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