Cross-Border Online Gambling Targeted by European Commission

Michel Barnier (right) at the EC Press Conference on Online Gambling

The European Commission has announced its plans to get tough on cross-border gambling in an attempt to curb money laundering and fraud.

Online casinos that are licensed and registered outside of the UK are commonplace – both Malta and Gibraltar have established themselves as key locations for testing the security and fairness of casino software.

This, and other cross-border issues, such as the location of banking services, raise questions about fraud and money laundering – and the European Commission is now taking action on those concerns.

Although the Commission is not seeking to create EU-wide laws to govern online gambling, it is setting out a number of guiding principles to help Member States draw up their own legislation for the protection of their citizens.

They include urging Member States to invest in better age verification and content filters, so that the 75% of under-17s with internet access across the EU are not able to access gambling sites illegally.

Michel Barnier, internal market and services commissioner at the European Commission, says the action plan aims to protect citizens, prevent money laundering, safeguard sport against match-fixing, and ensure that rules at a national level are in accordance with EU law.

“These are the objectives of the action plan we have adopted today,” he asserts.

The Commission is starting by consulting with Member States whose national legislation is thought to be in conflict with EU law, and those against whom complaints have been received, in order to achieve a “timely and satisfactory resolution” of those issues before proceeding.

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