The European Gaming and Betting Association says operators across Europe need to work closer together.
Belgium.- The Brussels-based online gambling industry body the European Gaming and Betting Association has called on operators to increase cross-border collaboration to head off the danger of tougher regulation of the sector. It says operators across Europe need to work together to improve how they’re represented in society.
The body says that only through closer collaboration across borders can operators ensure the industry is better organised, more responsible and better represented across the entire continent. It sees this as an essential goal for a sustainable industry and to avoid the risk of “ever stricter regulation” that will impact the ability to do business.
Writing on the EGBA website, secretary general Maarten Haijer warned that “there are way too many operators that sit on the periphery of our sector, don’t contribute to the representation of the sector, and choose not to participate in trade associations like EGBA”.
Key steps to demonstrate industry responsibility
He noted that many of the steps operators could take to show greater responsibility were relatively simple.
He said: “Responsibility certainly requires commitment and resources. But there are some simple rules which companies can follow. Become a member of a trade association if you aren’t already. Invest in relationships with wider stakeholders and our critics. Help develop local industry codes of conduct and apply these. Meet regularly with the political and regulatory leaderships to identify issues and find solutions. Be open, honest, and transparent about your activities. Invest in strengthening the industry voice.”
Haijer added: “Many of the challenges faced by the sector are common and cross-border in nature and that is why greater cooperation between companies and associations is so important.
“Enhanced cooperation, particularly around safer gambling, can help industry actors to share information, learnings, and best practices about self-regulatory initiatives that work well, and those that don’t, and create a more supportive ecosystem to amplify the industry voice.
“We’re pleased that many national trade associations share this vision – and actively participate in the European online gambling associations platform, which we jointly established with them in 2019. It’s encouraging that participation continues to grow, and it highlights that a stronger industry voice, through cooperation, is a shared vision across Europe.”
The platform already brings together 21 trade bodies that share knowledge, experiences, and best practices. The platform also provides a launch pad for joint industry actions, including the annual European Safer Gambling Week, which EGBA launched last year.
This year’s European Safer Gambling Week will place from October 17 to 23.
Haijer said: “Our members take their responsibilities seriously and are working hard each and every day to promote safe and sustainable gambling – and cooperate together to be transparent and accountable about their activities. This is part of our collective effort, as EGBA, to contribute to a sustainable gambling sector that can fight for its interests, acknowledges its place in society, and answers the concerns that society might have, both today and in the future.
“But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’re pleased to have national partners who’re committed to a stronger culture of industry responsibility and cooperation: in Europe and beyond.”
Last week, the EGBA reported positive feedback from the first independent monitoring of its pan-European responsible advertising code. The monitoring was conducted by the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA), a Brussels-based association that represents European self-regulatory organisations for advertising.
It found that the EGBA code provided “a solid basis for responsible advertising”. It noted that it provides comprehensive and detailed content and that EGBA members already correctly apply most measures.
In March, the EGBA welcomed a reported 55 per cent decrease in advertising from major gambling brands being placed on websites that breach intellectual property rights in the EU. The figure comes from a new study by the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).
The study analysed the amount and type of online advertising found on IPR-infringing websites and apps in the EU, including streaming sites for sports, movies and TV shows. It found that advertising from major gambling brands, including EGBA members, on such sites fell by 55 per cent in 2021 despite advertising from all sectors increasing by 26 per cent.