The European Commission dismisses calls Expert Group reformation


The European Commission (EC) has distanced itself from calls for the re-establishment of an ‘Expert Group on Online Gambling’ – a cross member state collaborative body supported by 14 regulatory agencies.

It comes after the Netherlands regulatory Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) published the EC’s response to a letter sent by KSA Chairman, Rene Jansen, on behalf of European regulators urging for it to reinstate the group which had been decommissioned in 2018.

Many regulators backed the reinstatement of an Expert Group to engage with various knowledge sources and find the practices with regards to governing gambling and protecting national consumers from risks and harms.

“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’s letter read.

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Court of Justice (ECJ) arbitrating 30 cases related to gambling, in which all casework stated that national regulations superseded EU rules.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 and licensing market incumbents and how it protects its national consumers.     

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 on new EU business directives being formed, the EC stated 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.