Monday, 14 July 2014

Online gambling and consumer protection - the Commission's guidelines

Today, the Commission has announced the release of a recommendation on the topic of online gambling (here the provisional text).

The recommendation is not binding. According to the Commission's FAQ's, no legislation should be expected to come in the immediate future either. The recommendation follows and Action Plan of 2012, which had identified the topic of consumer protection in this specific market as sensitive and does not cover all aspects of the regulation of online gambling. In particular, the Commission set out a series of principles which it invites member states to abide in drafting or upkeeping their rules on the subject. These principles, in particular include the following:

- gambling websites should give consumers appropriate information on the risks associated to gambling
- also advertisement of gambling services should be carried out in a responsible way;
- minors should be not allowed to play, and in general their contact with gambling (and related commercial communication) should be limited;
- identification: consumers should provide reliable data and the service provider should take patterns into account and use that information to intervene when problematic situations arise;
- consumers should be able to easily adopt self-restraining measures, including blocking their accounts;
- helplines should be available;
- the employees of gambling service providers should receive training enabling them to understand the risks their clients are facing.

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