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Online gambling: protecting consumers, players and children

This European Commission recommendation on online gambling services encourages EU countries to adopt principles for these services and their advertising and sponsorship. These should protect people from the harm that may result from excessive or compulsive gambling both to their health and their finances.

ACT

Commission Recommendation 2014/478/EU of 14 July 2014 on principles for the protection of consumers and players of online gambling services and for the prevention of minors from gambling online. (OJ L 214 of 19.7.2014, p. 38-46)

SUMMARY

WHAT DOES THIS RECOMMENDATION DO?

This recommendation aims to protect consumers, players and children, from the risks associated with online gambling. It seeks to mobilise EU countries and, through them, other parties such as online gambling operators, to assume their responsibilities and ensure high standards of consumer protection in this rapidly growing sector.

KEY POINTS

Information requirements

  • Ensure consumers are aware, and informed, of the risks associated with gambling, both when it comes to gambling websites and to advertising.

Minors and children

  • Minors and children should not be able to gamble online.
  • Rules are needed in order to minimise their exposure to advertising or promotion of gambling services.

Registration process

  • To open an account, players should provide their identity details and age. This information should be checked by operators.

Support for players

  • Tools for players to keep their gambling under control (for example, information on how much they are winning/losing as they play, setting spending limits, etc.).
  • Easy access to helplines for advice on their gambling behaviour.
  • Training for employees of online gambling operators to ensure they understand gambling problems and react appropriately in contacts with players.

Advertising/promotion

  • Must be unambiguous, socially responsible and transparent.

WHEN DOES THE RECOMMENDATION APPLY?

The recommendation was adopted on 14 July 2014. EU countries are invited to notify the Commission of any measures they take pursuant to the recommendation by 19 January 2016. The Commission is to evaluate its implementation by 19 January 2017.

BACKGROUND

Online gambling in the EU is subject to a variety of national rules (or sometimes no rules at all). Because EU countries face similar challenges and online gambling often has a cross-border dimension, tackling the issue collectively at EU level makes sense. In 2012, the Commission adopted an action plan on online gambling which announced this recommendation.

Further information is available on the website of the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Internal Market.

RELATED ACTS

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: Towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling (COM(2012) 596 final of 23.10.2012).

last update 03.11.2014

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