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EU Court of Justice Rejects Belgium’s Request for Annulment of EC Online Gambling Recommendation

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The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) rejected earlier this week a petition filed by the Belgian Government against a set of recommendations for the protection of consumers of online gambling services and the prevention of minors from gambling online.

The recommendations were introduced by th European Commission in 2014 but the government of Belgium contested them in court, arguing that these were breaching each individual Member State’s right to regulate their online gambling market in a manner they found fit and to adopt player protection measures of their own choice. Belgian lawmakers further claimed that the European Commission had overstepped its authority by issuing the guidelines.

Earlier this week, the EU Court of Justice rejected the above claims and found that the European Commission had not exceeded its competence and that the set of recommendations had not interfered with Member States’ right to implement their own online gambling regulations.

The CJEU ruling affirmed a previously issued court decision by the General Court. The latter court dismissed Belgium’s case in the fall of 2015. The Belgian government will not be able to appeal the latest ruling further.

Why have the guidelines been contested?

The European Commission introduced the Commission Recommendation on principles for the protection of consumers and players of online gambling services and for the prevention of minors from gambling online in the summer of 2014. It was not legally binding and only aimed to present Member States with a set of guidelines for the effective protection of online gambling customers and the prevention of minors from being targeted and allowed to gamble online.

In October 2014, the Belgian Government filed against the recommendation, seeking its annulment by the EU’s highest court. As mentioned above, Belgian lawmakers claimed that the Commission had gone beyond its authority by introducing the guidelines and encouraging Member States to adopt them.

The Belgian government further pointed out that under EU treaties, the Commission did not have the authority to introduce “an instrument with harmonizing effect” in the online gambling sector.

It also emerged back then that concerns that the recommendation would lower the standards previously set by the Belgian Gaming Act stood at the heart of the country’s discontent.

The European Gaming & Betting Association, EGBA, welcomed CJEU’s ruling in a Tuesday statement. The Association also called upon the European Commission to encourage Member States to adopt its guidelines, to review for any gaps in their implementation, and to take corrective action if needed so that high level of consumer protection across the European Union is achieved.

Based in Brussels, EGBA is the industry body representing online gambling operators based and licensed within the European Union. Its member list includes bet365, Betsson, Kindred Group, and GVC Holdings, among others.

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Compliance Updates

European Union Updates Country List for Stricter AML Checks

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The European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union (EU), has updated its list of high-risk countries, from which players should be subjected to stricter customer checks by gambling operators.

Based on Directive (EU) 2015/849, Article 9, the Commission identifies any high-risk third countries that have strategic deficiencies in their regime on anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism.

As such, operators based in the EU that are offering services to these countries or dealing with players from these nations are obliged to carry out heightened vigilance checks.

The list was first published in July 2016 and has been updated a number of times as further countries of concern are identified and flagged by the Commission.

The latest countries to be added to this list – in an update published last month – include Burkina Faso, the Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jordan, Malo, Morocco, Myanmar, the Philippines, Senegal and South Sudan.

Other nations included on the list include Afghanistan, Barbados, Cambodia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Jamaica, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Panama, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

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Games Factory Talents has teamed up with Nordic Game to bring you Nordic Game Talents.

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Looking to take your career to the next level in the games industry? Then, Nordic Game Talents is the place to be! Games Factory Talents has teamed up with Nordic Game to bring you Nordic Game Talents.

From Oct 27-29, the online and interactive event is dedicated to recruitment and career building in the creative & games industry within the Nordic region. The event empowers participants to be part of a bigger community and motivates them to explore new paths in achieving their career goals.

Hiring creative & games studios – Supercell, Funcom, Panzerdog, Tactile Games, Gamecan, Fingersoft, Dazzle Rocks, Redhill Games to name a few from the Nordic region will be participating in the event. These studios will share information on their latest projects, work culture and what it takes to be part of their team. The individual games associations from Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Estonia will share insights through live sessions on the booming games industry in their respective countries. Career development topics pertinent to job seekers like – How to have a successful first interview, Creative Portfolio reviews will also be discussed.

Experienced game industry professionals and individuals beginning their careers from around the world are welcome to join the event. One-to-one interviews with the hiring studios can be scheduled through the event platform. A great opportunity to get to know the studios and network with game professionals from around the world.

Participating in the event

As a job seeker attending Nordic Game Talents, take a few minutes to fill out a simple registration form. After filling the registration form you will receive a link to the online event platform – PINE, to join the event on 27th October. Participants joining Nordic Game Talents will also receive a free-of-charge pass to the Nordic Game Conference.

To view the complete agenda, please click here and to learn more about the event please visit Games Job Fair

About Games Factory Talents

A Helsinki-based talent attraction agency dedicated to the games & creative industry. Our services include direct recruitment, organizing game job fairs and managing a community of game industry professionals through our GameDev Talent Board.

To learn more about Games Factory Talents visit – Games Factory Talents

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European Union

EC Rejects Call to Reform Expert Group on Gambling

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EC Rejects Call to Reform Expert Group on Gambling
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The European Commission (EC) has stated that will not support the re-establishment of an “Expert Group on Online Gambling” – a cross member state collaborative body supported by 14 regulatory agencies.

Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) published the EC’s response to a letter sent by KSA Chairman Rene Jansen on behalf of European regulators requesting to reinstate the group which had been decommissioned in 2018.

Regulators backed the reinstatement of an Expert Group to exchange knowledge and best practices with regards to governing gambling and protecting national consumers from risks and harms.

Jansen’s letter further stated that regulatory cooperation was required to secure greater oversight on technical requirements and to better evaluate the legislative outcomes of member-states governing their regulated gambling marketplaces.

“The work of the Expert Group was particularly successful. We achieved results that benefited consumers, national authorities and the gambling sector and the active participation in the group also demonstrated that member states are well equipped and willing to achieve positive outcomes together. And we still believe this to be the case,” Jansen said.

Issuing a response, the office of European Commissioner Thierry Breton referred to the EC’s original verdict to decommission the group taken in December 2017.

The expert group was deemed as no longer viable following the European Court of Justice (ECJ) arbitrating 30 cases related to gambling, in which all casework stated that national regulations superseded EU rules.

The EC underscored that gambling laws and standards would be maintained as the domain of the individual member state – which can choose to apply its legislative preferences to taxation, the licensing of market incumbents, industry standards and how a member state should protect its national consumers from harms.

The Commission can only intervene on member-states gambling laws if they are deemed to have breached the wider EU policies on market competition, fair business policies and state aid rules.

Replying to Jansen’s concerns, the EC responded that gambling regulators had the support of individual policy units carrying comprehensive oversight on “anti-money laundering (DG FISMA), consumer and youth protection (DG JUST), the prevention of addiction (DG SANTE) or issues of taxation (DG TAXUD)”.

“At this stage, our Directorate General does not intend to reverse this decision and to reinstate the Expert Group on Gambling Services under its responsibility,” the EC letter concluded.

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