EOGL CHAIRMAN PARTICIPATED AT THE EGBA – ORGANIZED DEBATE ON ONLINE GAMBLING
The chairman of European Organization for Gaming Law, Mr. Nikos Roumnakis, participated at the debate “Online Gambling in Europe: How can tax & licensing regulation help to protect customers?”. The event was held at the European Parliament.
The discussion centred around the methods to identify to what extent different tax and licensing regulation contribute in directing the consumers to the regulated and licensed websites, in order the Industry’s common European objectives are to be met. After the audience had been informed on some of the key figures of growing online gambling market in EU (in terms of annual scale, number of consumers and growth rate), the debate was divided into four panels.
In first, Swedish Member of the European Parliament, Mr. Cristopher Fjellner, highlighted the adverse consequences of the Commission’s decision to close all the Industry-related infringement cases. By presenting the latest developments in liberalization of the Swedish online gambling market, he also stressed the practical inapplicability of monopolistic regimes in the context of globalized and digitalized market with the variety of different alternatives just a click away.
Discussing about the EU online gambling regulatory policy, EGBA’s Secretary General, Mr. Maarten Haaijer, focused on the regulatory vacuum clearly visible at the EU level as regards the Industry. Further on, he informed on the 2020 projected figures of growth at the EU level as 22.5 billion euros are expected to be generated annually through online gambling, as well as additional 84.3 billion euros via retail market.
Prof. Justus Haucap referred to some methodological aspect of calculating the national index values of channelled online gambling offer (channelling index), i.e. the level of gambling services that are rendered through licensed and regulated operators. In explaining the reasons for Germany being the negative example, whereas Denmark a positive one, he emphasized the importance of balanced taxation, liberalized licensing regime and high awareness on consumer protection as prerequisites for a successful policy of highly channelled online gambling offer, given the latter is highly price-sensitive.
Head of German Sports Betting Association, Mr. Luka Andric, identified the Germany’s complex federal structure as the main reason for the so-far failed licensing process, meaning that the country’s market lacks in legal certainty and consumer protection against unregulated operators and black market.
All the participants agreed that a unified, common EU approach is crucial for attracting the customers to a regulated and safe market user environment. This is particularly important in the case of online gambling, bearing the mind it is especially sensitive to any change in digital, societal or business regulatory framework, both nationally and EU-wide.