Gambling Policy Conference in Europe

July 29th, 2011  |  Published in Casino News

While back the European Commission (EC) chose to create a report with regards to the current state of online gambling in Europe prior to developing a regulated system. The Commission requested interested parties to provide input as a segment of the consultative process. The deadline to provide this input is less than a month away. However, many parties publicly voiced their opinions at the European Gambling Policy Conference in Brussels.

Cohesive Regulation

Once such speaker was a politician from the European Union (EU), J. Creutzmann. He felt that regulation of the online gambling industry across Europe is the best and only solution as to how to eliminate the current confusion in the market. Unfortunately, national regulation will be unsuccessful in a growing marketplace.

Supporting Arguments

This same opinion has been mentioned by several industry executives, representatives from the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and other observers. Since there is a lack of standardized regulations between the Member States and the EU, costs continue to increase and fraud and unlicensed gambling are flourishing. The EGBA has highlighted the level of fragmentation of the industry into 27 independent markets with varying taxes and other fees.

This highly discourages responsible gaming organizations from entering the market allowing for less reputable unlicensed owners to move in. In the end, the player will suffer the most. Also, the lack of standardized regulation pushes potential customers to unregulated markets in places like China. A synergized regulation would help eliminate corruption by increasing enforcement.

Sports Corruption

This viewpoint is also consistent with sports. For example, fixing a matching or event in Spain and the United Kingdom is highly illegal. However, in Bulgaria there is a no law against the actions. This has occurred because the EU has not taken upfront action and allowed the burden of regulation to fall with governments in specific markets.

Opposing Arguments

The opposing individuals believe that most Member States of the EU do not want a standardized regulation so they can keep the money within the country. Many also do not want large gambling markets for religious reasons. A representative from the Association of Charity Lotteries agrees with this point of view.

Also most European countries have a fairly robust online gaming regulatory system. However, this proves that there a long way to go. Both sides make compelling arguments so the decision to make a standardized regulatory system will be difficult.

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Common Online Gambling Myths

June 29th, 2011  |  Published in Inrodution

Launched in 2007 as a non-profit organization, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) consist of leading members of the online gaming industry. The group’s objective is to develop a uniform online sector in Europe so operators will be able to provide competitive services throughout various nations. Recently, EGBA has been met with resistance from various European governments that are attempting to monopolize or eradicate in the activity.

Social Evil

Each of the aforementioned anti-online gambling governments view the activity as a social evil or propose it will slowly become one if not regulated properly by only the government. To counter these ideas, the EGBA has developed a “Myth-busting” webpage with regards to debunking the most common myths associated with online gambling.

Problem Gambling

One of the most important accusations against the industry is that it nurtures problem gambling by making it easier for players to wager more than they can afford. The EGBA deferred to several recent studies that proved problem gaming has remained stable at around one percent over the past decade, even with the development of online gambling. Furthermore, licensed operators promote safe and responsible gaming.

There are even various tools that customers can access such as setting deposit limits, creating cool off periods, activating self-exclusion options and engaging self check tests. Additionally, the most reputable online operators partner with problem gambling groups so anyone who needs help can access the agencies immediately.

Responsibility

Another myth disseminated by several European governments is that state or federally-run online gambling monopolies are more responsible than privately-licensed operators and therefore better protect online players. In 2008, safe and fair play leader, eCOGRA released a study indicated that licensed private casino operators do more to implement responsible and fair gambling standards than governments.

Lower Payback Ratio

Another contention in favor of state monopolies is the lower payback ratio offered which deters excessive gambling. This argument was countered by stating that when governments limit private online casino operators to provide more competitive products and services, they are ensuring their operators remain profitable-only.

Money Laundering

The final point consistently argued is the concern of money laundering. Many believe online gambling is an easy target for terrorists, crime families and others who are transferring unaccounted funds for despicable actions. This was the primary rationale for the passage of the UIGEA in the United States. However, money trails in online gambling are transparent and traceable due to the highly regulated nature of the business.

EGBA has clearly busted many of these common misconceptions. When online gambling was first implemented, these ideas may have been accurate; however, since regulation, fair and safe play certificates and rigid standards have been implemented the industry is on the straight and narrow.

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