He claimed that over 12 million online players across the bloc were being let down by rules that could be confusing, and inconsistently applied between the EU’s member states.
Haijer pointed out that the internet does not respect national borders and Europeans are used to being able to use websites and online services that are based in other member states.
He suggested that differing consumer protection standards between EU countries left some players at a material disadvantage compared to others and pointed to the sluggish process in adopting the European Commission’s standards on online gambling as an example of where Europe is falling short.
The European Commission had been due to review the implementation of 2014’s guidelines two years ago, but this did not happen.
Consumer protection measures that are seen as common sense in some member states are unavailable in others. For example, a study conducted by City University in London found that only half of the EU’s member states have implemented the Self Exclusion register that was recommended in the Commission’s guidelines.
In addition, the registers that do exist are confined to individual countries and do not stop players who have self-excluded from playing on websites that are operated in other European Union countries.
In addition, measures to stop underage persons from gambling are varied and often weak. Only around half of member states allow for electronic identity checks to be made by online casinos in order to ensure that players are of legal age. This leaves many casino websites to rely on self-certification and other weak measures that are likely to let through a significant number of underage gamers.
Overall, the EGBA stated that Europe’s gambling laws had not kept pace with rapidly advancing technology and that a full overhaul was required in order to catch up.