(PRESS RELEASE) — The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has ruled that the European Commission acted within its rights by issuing guidelines to member states on how to protect consumers from online gambling services. The CJEU rejected a claim by the Belgian Government that the Commission had gone beyond its Treaty-based competences by issuing the guidelines and found the guidelines did not interfere with the right of Member States to regulate online gambling services. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomes the CJEU decision and supports the full adoption of the Commission guidelines by Member States.
The guidelines, published in 2014, contain a number of practical recommendations aimed at fostering a high degree of consumer protection in Member States and prevent minors from online gambling. The Belgian Government had claimed that the guidelines interfered with Member State sovereignty and competences to regulate national gambling markets.
While the guidelines are not legally binding, EGBA supports the implementation of the guidelines as an important tool to encourage Member States to apply a high and consistent level of consumer protection for online gambling activity in the EU. The standards adequately compliment the European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) workshop agreement on Responsible Remote Gambling Measures, which EGBA members voluntarily adhere to and are regularly audited against.
Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, said, “We welcome the decision by the Court and strongly support the Commission’s guidelines for online gambling services which aim to protect consumers and minors across all EU Member States. We now call upon the Commission to evaluate the implementation of its guidelines by Member States and identify any gaps and corrective action needed to encourage Member States to achieve a high level of consumer protection.”