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Online gambling: reducing the risk - 29/10/2012

Dice and credit card on keyboard © iStockphoto

New gambling action plan to protect consumers, crack down on irresponsible advertising and tackle betting-related match-fixing.

Online gambling is growing. Games such as poker – along with casinos, sports-betting and lotteries – are big business: 6.8 million Europeans placed an online bet in 2011, generating revenues of €9.3 billion for online gambling companies. That figure is expected to grow to €13 billion by 2015.

Many EU countries have introduced rules to keep gamblers safe, but each country’s system is different:

  • Germany and the Netherlands have prohibited certain types of online betting games
  • In Finland, Portugal and Sweden, online gambling services are run by a sole operator.
  • Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy and Spain have introduced licences so that more than one company can provide online gambling.

Each system is designed to shield consumers from fraud, and protect vulnerable groups such as children.

But the online nature of gambling means that individuals are not necessarily protected by their own country’s laws. Someone in Germany may choose to place a bet via a website set up in the UK, for example.

Lastly, the Commission will make a series of recommendations to EU countries to tackle betting-related match-fixing. Proposals will cover sharing information, follow-up of suspicious activities, setting up conflict-of-interest provisions and setting up hotlines for reporting suspect behaviour.

Action plan initiatives will be introduced from 2013.

More on EU gambling laws

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