René Jansen calls for return of EC group on online gambling

René Jansen is the new chairman of the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF).
René Jansen is the new chairman of the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF).

The new chairman of Gaming Regulators European Forum has asked the European Commission to reconvene the Expert Group on Online Gambling.

The Netherlands.- René Jansen, chairman of the Dutch gambling regulator, Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), and new chairman of the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF), has called for the reintroduction of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Online Gambling

Speaking in a webinar hosted by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Jansen said he had sent a letter to the European Commissioner for the Internal Market on behalf of a group of regulators in order to “breathe new life into the EC Expert Group on Online Gambling”.

He said that the re-establishment of the group was needed to allow regulators to exchange information and defend each individual market against the threat from unlicensed operators.

He noted that although the European Union left gambling laws to individual member states, European regulators had aligned goals “in wanting to protect consumers, prevent gambling addiction and tackle illegal practices”. 

He said: “The different sets of laws in each country means that efficient and effective information exchange is vital. We must also show illegal gambling operators that decisive cross-border action is being taken against them.”

The EU Expert Group comprised representatives from EU gambling regulators. It was disbanded by the European Commission in 2018 despite many gambling regulators believing it to have been a success.

The group led to several joint initiatives including the European Commission’s 2014 recommendation on consumer protection in online gambling.

The EGBA has added its weight to the call for the group to be reestablished. Secretary-General Maarten Haijer said: “There is currently no EU framework for gambling regulators to even communicate, let alone to jointly tackle the big issues affecting Europe’s online gambling sector.

“Most of these issues are cross-border in nature and require common solutions. We therefore welcome the strong commitment to regulatory cooperation and call to action from the majority of Europe’s gambling regulators.

“The message to the European Commission is clear: both gambling regulators and the sector itself are united in support of the Expert Group and call upon the Commission to reinstate the Expert Group.”

EGBA warns plans to slash Italian igaming licences could breach EU rules

Earlier this week, the EGBA warned that plans to reduce the number of online gambling licences in Italy while increasing fees could breach EU law.

It’s urged the Italian regulator, the Agenzia Delle Dogane e Dei Monopoli (ADM), to notify the European Commission of its plans for a new tender of online gambling concessions, which it argues could cause illegal gambling to rise.

The EGBA recently filed a state aid complaint with the European Commission against Germany’s proposed 5.3 per cent tax on online slots and poker turnover, arguing that it constitutes illegal state aid for land-based gaming.

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