All the countries that belong to the European Union have to follow the same laws in order to create a unified economic market. This is valid for all areas of activity, including gambling, but it’s an extremely hard goal to achieve considering each country continues to be independent and has their own laws.
The job of the European Union is, therefore, to guide and motivate their member states to regulate online gambling, and when some of them don’t the EU has to act so that the regulatory changes do happen.
The Lithuanian example
Back in 2013, the EU addressed six state members that weren’t doing enough to regulate web-based operations, and Lithuania was one of those countries. In order to protect the existing gambling monopolies, some countries take their time to create legislation to open the market. With the impulse of the EU, the Lithuanian Gaming Control Authority is now imposing heavy penalties to those breaking the new laws.
Publicity of the law, along with licensing of operators is the whole scenario necessary so that the market becomes open and balanced throughout the EU. More, the new gaming legislation in Lithuania is similar to the one created in Belgium, where also licensing is necessary for online operators.
These measures are a requirement because in the last years the growth of illegal gambling sites has menaced the legal operator’s profits, so the heavy fines are a way to punish those operators that don’t have licenses. Along with fines, blacklists of illegal domains are created and shared with financial institutions so that payments from those companies are not processed.
Monitoring illegal operations is a way to create optimal conditions for the online gambling market to flourish.
Slovakia going in the opposite direction
The development of online gambling is not constant or uniform throughout Europe, and Slovakia is just proving that with the ban of gambling from the country. Those operators that have licenses will be allowed to operate until the licenses expire, which in some cases is up to 2021, but new operators are in this way blocked in the country.
The country will lose millions in taxes, but they say it’s a decision based on values, and not on money, on a clearly anti-gambling measure for the time being. On the other hand, it’s expected that the existing casinos in the country will now concentrate even more players, so they will be directly benefited by this measure.
In new developments in what concern advertising of online gambling, the European Commission is now urging countries to adopt shock messages similar to the ones used in cigarette packets. The goal here is to fight compulsive gambling, and its seen as an urgent matter, considering the €10.5 billion online gambling industry is growing at 15% a year, is the fastest growing rate in Europe in what concerns services.
Even if this recommendation is not a legal obligation, it’s a clear message in what concerns the direction online gambling advertising should take. More, this is already a reality in France, where a helpline number and health messages exist on online sites and ads.
Apart from above measures, the inclusion of chances of winning and losing, risks of becoming an addict, and assistance for compulsive gambling are other ideas that are being adopted too, along with the ban for gambling companies from being sponsors of events for younger people.