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European Parliament Study: Including Online Gambling In EU Digital Single Market Benefits Consumers

George Miller

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European Parliament Study: Including Online Gambling In EU Digital Single Market Benefits Consumers
Photo Source: eaie.org
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

 A new study by the European Parliament has found that deepening EU digital single market (DSM) rules to include online gambling could deliver nearly €6 billion in savings for EU consumers and businesses per year and fill existing gaps in Europe’s consumer protection framework. The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) welcomes the findings and calls on EU policy makers to introduce a single set of rules for online gambling.

The study, presented to the Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO) during its session on 2-3 September, evaluated the benefits of existing DSM measures and outlined the potential economic benefits for citizens and businesses by further deepening DSM policies.

The study found that the EU could potentially generate €5.6 billion per year in societal welfare and consumer benefits by including online gambling – a sector worth €20 billion per year – in the DSM. This would be done by addressing current gaps in consumer protection – which are a result of 28 different sets of national gambling policies which diverge significantly and create unnecessary national barriers.

In 2014, the European Commission recognised this problem and issued a non-binding Recommendation to EU Member States aimed at creating a more consistent consumer protection basis for the 12 million Europeans who regularly bet online. But a recent study found that the Recommendation has been implemented fully by only one EU Member State and EU consumers are being exposed to varying degrees of consumer protection – many of which are inadequate.

Alongside the diverging national rules for consumer protection in online gambling, national enforcement tools like geo-blockings and payment-blockings jeopardise consumer safety by pushing EU consumers towards betting websites operated outside the jurisdiction and reach of the EU. The introduction of a single set of rules applicable across all Member States would correct this, help better regulate Europe’s online gambling activities and provide higher standards of consumer protection.

The creation of a single rulebook for online gambling would also lessen significant administrative duplication for European businesses. EGBA member companies are based in the EU and offer online betting services across 19 Member States and collectively hold more than 134 online betting licenses to do so – averaging 22 licenses per company, each with their own compliance requirements.

“Introducing a single set of rules for online betting in the EU makes perfect sense – it would improve the regulation of the sector, save significant money for both consumers and companies and help better protect consumers. That is why EGBA is calling on EU policymakers to ensure that the Digital Single Market benefits the 12 million Europeans who bet online.” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, EGBA.

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Eastern Europe

MONEYVAL: Georgia should increase the use of financial intelligence in casino industry

George Miller

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MONEYVAL: Georgia should increase the use of financial intelligence in casino industry
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The Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering body MONEYVAL has urged the Georgian authorities to strengthen the practical application of their measures to combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. In a new report it calls for making more efforts to use financial intelligence to detect and investigate money laundering, as well as for strengthening the supervision and regulation focusing on the high-risk non-financial sectors, especially casinos. The report assesses the effectiveness of Georgia’s system for countering money laundering and financing of terrorism system and its level of compliance with Recommendations issued in 2012 by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The report acknowledges that Georgia displays a fair understanding of many of its money laundering and terrorism financing risks. Shortcomings exist regarding identification, in-depth analysis and understanding of some threats, vulnerabilities and risks. Notably, the understanding of risks needs to be developed further in the following areas: use of cash in the economy; the real estate sector; trade-based money laundering and terrorism financing (including in free industrial zones of Georgia); the activities of legal persons; and the use of non-profit organisations (NPOs). Read the report here.

 

Source: coe.int

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European Union

EU DIGITAL EDUCATION ACTION PLAN SHOULD EMBRACE VIDEO GAMES TO BOOST DIGITAL LITERACY AND HELP FILL THE DIGITAL SKILLS GAP IN EUROPE

George Miller

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EU DIGITAL EDUCATION ACTION PLAN SHOULD EMBRACE VIDEO GAMES TO BOOST DIGITAL LITERACY AND HELP FILL THE DIGITAL SKILLS GAP IN EUROPE
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In advance of next week’s publication of the European Commission’s updated Digital Education Action Plan, ISFE presents the results of the Games in Schools project. The project includes the new teachers’ handbook, a resource created for teachers, in collaboration with European Schoolnet (the network of 34 Ministries of Education).  Games in Schools is designed to provide teachers with training on how to use commercial video games as pedagogical support in the classroom to support student engagement and the development of digital competences, boost digital literacy and help fill the digital skills gap in Europe.  More than 4,200 teachers from all over Europe took part.

ISFE CEO Simon Little said: “There is a wealth of evidence that the use of video games in the classroom boosts important 21st century skills: teamwork, communication, problem solving, critical thinking,  analytical skills and much more. Video games are central to today’s society, and the European Commission should use the Digital Education Action Plan to encourage all national governments to embrace the opportunity for digital growth and employment in Europe that they represent and to follow the Polish Government’s example by adding them to the school curriculum. Europe’s video games industry is worth €21.6bn and it has grown 55% over the past five years. Europe’s educators need to catch up and prepare our young people for the jobs of the future.”

The European Commission cites the Action Plan as a key instrument in the COVID-19 recovery process.  A recent Ipsos MORI study commissioned by ISFE found that one in five parents agreed that video games had helped with their children’s education and schooling and a high proportion of parents agreed that playing video games had a positive impact on mental health during lockdown. Video games were a valuable tool for people to stay connected with friends and family online, for education, fitness and entertainment during the worst of the pandemic.

European Schoolnet Executive Director Marc Durando said: “The pandemic has shone a light on the importance of supporting teachers to use digital tools in a pedagogically effective way. Video games have the potential to not only engage students in learning but to also turn them from passive consumers of digital media to creators and developers that shape the digital media of tomorrow. The Games in Schools project has provided teachers with training and guidance on how to achieve this shift through pedagogically grounded learning activities which make use of video games in the classroom.’’

The results of Games in Schools, which successfully reached more than 4,200 teachers across Europe in 2019, and the new teachers’ handbook are presented on 29 September at a free online event, “Learning by Playing”, kindly supported by Sabine Verheyen, Chair of the European Parliament’s Culture and Education Committee with a keynote speech by Antoaneta Angelova-Krasteva, Director for Innovation, International Cooperation & Sport, DG EAC, European Commission.

 

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Compliance Updates

EU Report Suggests Consumer Protection Approach to Tackle Loot Boxes

Niji Narayan

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EU Report Suggests Consumer Protection Approach to Tackle Loot Boxes
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A report commissioned by the EU Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee has recently come to the conclusion that the EU should stop approaching loot boxes as a gambling issue and treat the practice as a consumer protection issue.

The report concludes that while the problematic practice can be dangerous due to the way that it can prey on obsession and addiction, especially in younger players, gambling can only be regulated on a country to country basis. This would leave the rule of law for loot boxes and gambling in gaming fragmented among the Member States that make up the EU as each country will be allowed to create there rules separate from the others.

“Since gambling is a national competence of the Member States, approaching the issue from this angle may lead to a fragmented market for video games within the EU… It is therefore recommended to tackle problematic game designs from a wider consumer protection perspective,” the report said.

As a result of this report, the recommendation has been made that loot boxes and problematic game designs be treated as a consumer protection issues, which the EU has the power to set standards for across all Member States. This conclusion comes from the risks that loot boxes can pose to vulnerable and younger players who either may build addictive behaviours, or not understand the true values of their purchases.

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