ECB outlines digital euro vision to European Parliament

The adoption of the European Digital Identity (e-ID) by EU legislators late last month is an ‘important step’ in creating a secure digital ecosystem across the continent, according to the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).

MEPs backed the new law on 29 February that will introduce ‘qualified electronic signatures’ for users of a planned EU digital wallet, which will be used on a voluntary basis. The digital ID system has been crafted with the intention of protecting people who do not typically use ID verification wallet solutions. .

In addition, the wallet will function as an ‘open-source wallet’ designed to encourage transparency, innovation and enhance security, with MEPs also setting ‘stringent rules’ regarding legislation and oversight of companies involved.

Commenting at the time, Rapporteur Romana Jerković, a Croatian MEP from the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D, HR), said: “This legislation aims to empower citizens by putting them in full control of the use and sharing of their data. 

“Digital identity has evolved from being a mere convenience to becoming a catalyst for civic involvement, social empowerment, and a means to foster inclusivity in the digital age.”

The impact of the MEPs approval of both the EU digital wallet and the e-ID requirements will be far reaching for various industries, including payments, as well as various finance sectors such as banking, fintech, and gambling.

As an industry classified by many countries as ‘high-risk’ and subject to strict age verification and ID requirements due to player protection, AML and fraud-prevention standards, betting and gaming are sectors that should closely monitor any e-ID developments.

Responding to the EU parliament’s approval, EGBA praised the fact that the legislation will allow consumers to verify their identity without having to use third party providers. 

The pan-European gaming trade body stated that this will benefit consumers by raising ‘trust, security and privacy concerns’ relating to third-party data sharing’.  

The EGBA also believes that use of a standardised, non-commercial ID method will mean greater privacy for consumers whilst providing businesses enhanced measures against fraud.

Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary General, said: “We welcome the European Parliament’s approval of a unified digital identity framework and are confident that the use of the new e-ID in our sector will lead to a more seamless and trustworthy online experience for players and help to reduce costs and administration for gambling operators. 

“This innovative tool represents an important step towards building a more secure and user-friendly digital ecosystem, aligning with EGBA’s core objectives of promoting integrity, transparency, and a safe, consumer-centric playing environment.”

However, the EGBA has noted that potential success of e-ID will depend on high participation among EU citizens, with its adoption voluntary for both businesses and consumers.

Although noting that gambling operators will have the flexibility to determine whether they wish to integrate the e-ID into KYC processes, EGBA remains adamant that the tool will be of great benefit to the industry as a whole.

The association has been supporting the introduction of an e-ID since the measure was first proposed by MEPs back in 2021, arguing that it will provide betting customers an ‘easy, secure, trustworthy, and singular option to confirm their identity in the EU’.

The initial introductory phase of an e-ID is not fully complete, however, as despite being approved by 335 MEPs against 190, with 31 abstention, it still requires approval from the EU Council of Ministers to become law.

The e-ID is also not the only development occurring in the legislative and executive processes of the EU that payments stakeholders should pay attention to, with the introduction of a digital euro also under debate.