EU Wants Common Platform For The Regulation of Gambling Online

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Friday 3 May 2013 1:07 pm

It is no secret that the European Union finds the online gambling industry to be problematic . But the problems actually don’t lie with the industry, it is in the way EU countries just do their own thing with regards to trading regulations. The EU is committed to a policy of free trade within the Union, but there are all kinds of issues that come into play, so individual countries tend to make their own laws regarding the industry.

One of the chief concerns of many EU partner countries is the problem of match fixing. So, they attempt to put an end to corruption in sports by stopping activities such as online sports betting, and it is this that affects industry players. While the European Union themselves battle with the case of creating a unified, or rather, common, platform for operators in the Internet gambling biz.
The real problem seems to be that the gambling sector is vulnerable, so protection, as well as stamping out corruption is the EU’s main points of focus.

There has also been a great deal of deliberation surrounding inconsistencies in the rules that apply to online gambling ops within EU member nations. We have seen evidence of this in Belgium, Germany, France, and other member states. These states seem determined not to come to the party in terms of this industry.

Their actions have been seen in the light of a monopolistic approach, and this

goes against the basic mandate of the European Union – that fairness and free e-commerce is an integral part of the structure.

The European Commission has requested industry input, and responded with an action plan, however, this has made very little difference to the way in which certain countries respond. Despite the fact that Michel Barnier – the EC Commissioner for internal trade has called for member states to fulfil their obligations, they simply go their own way.

Apparently there are five areas in which increased cooperation is required, but Mr. Barnier has also mentioned that the EC is “not proposing EU-wide legislation on online gaming”. However, they are still proposing that a common protection principle be adhered to, as well as requesting that all member states follow an across-the-board set of actions.

It is obvious that both the EU and member states have concerns such as underage gambling, cheating in sports, and money laundering, but these issues should not be used as an excuse for monopolistic gambling practices to take place. Age verification technology and other tools to protect the vulnerable have become highly sophisticated – operators in regulated jurisdictions are visibly making use of these. However the new EC action plan wants advertisers to be more responsible too.

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Sweden Takes Action To Change Gambling Regulations

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Friday 8 February 2013 4:24 pm

We often come across news items regarding big wins at online gambling websites. These wins are often nabbed by online slots players, and we are talking about millions of Kroner, not just trifling wins. But, despite the fact that the Swedish winters are long, and online gambling is a fun way to spend those long, lonely, dark, endless nights, the Swedish Prime Minister is taking his life in his hands by proposing changes to gaming laws.

The motivation for the changes is apparently due to some stats release by the National Audit Office. The stats were released in June 2012, and changes are scheduled to be implemented by mid-2014. According to the news report, there has been an “increase in pathological gambling has been identified among certain groups of gamblers”.

While legislation will be implemented to take away certain gambling freedoms a couple of years down the line; it pays to remember that time flies fast when you are having fun, and online gambling is nothing more than having a little harmless fun. If problem gamblers are on the increase, then people are the problem, not gambling per se. This is something we have always maintained, but the real issue seems to be that competition between illegal or unauthorised gambling providers seems to be the main cause of Swedish residents gambling problems. Again, it seems to us, that people are the problem not gambling itself.

By the 31st May of this year we should know exactly what proposed law changes will be. But we have absolutely no doubt that online gambling will be affected. Changes in regulations will more than likely affect high risk areas the most, and as online gambling is a numbers game, with more numbers than ever before playing these games, it stands to reason this industry will be targeted.

However, there is some light at the end of the dark tunnel of those cold lonely nights for the Swedes. It is perceived that current legislation is simply weak in the area of social protections, so the aim is to strengthen these weaknesses, not institute outright bans. Bans in countries which disallow gambling online are often perceived to be bans on access to information, as well as an infringement of rights to choice. No radical overhaul of the present systems is to be expected.

Even state-controlled Svenska Spel was named in the report, and they are one of the very few “legal” Swedish gambling providers. Here it is interesting to note that they also have a very strong online presence. They offer bingo, casino games, sports betting and poker; live and online as well as throughout the entire Swedish entertainment industry, which means restaurants and pubs, as well as bingo halls – the lot.

They have been offering online poker through the Boss Media (now GTECH G2) platform since 2005, which makes them the only authorised product in Sweden, so, where does the “competition” factor come in? Apparently residents have easy access to all kinds of online gambling sites, so, all the Swedish Government need do is require fair individual licensing and regulation, just like nearly all of the EU.

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Northern Ireland – New Gambling Laws Will Not Affect Online Industry

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Monday 4 February 2013 2:43 am

While Northern Ireland is considered to be part of the United Kingdom, this area is a self-governing territory, which implements its own distinct laws. Heaven knows the IRA fought long and hard enough to gain this distinction.

In terms of online gambling legislation and regulation, there was once the idea that an independent licensing authority should be created. However, the idea was soon rejected, due to logistical difficulties. Now Nelson McCausand – Minister of Social Development – Northern Ireland, has announced that new gambling legislation is to be formulated shortly. Apparently the new laws are not expected to affect online gamblers in any drastic way.

The need for new laws has become essential, because as times have changes, the old laws cannot hope to cover all the facets of every gambling portfolio, that is available to the public today. Basically these new laws are for consumer protection, and are focussed at players, and the money they spend being protected.

The EU marketplace as a whole has seen online gambling, as well as games such as poker, surge in popularity. In particular in terms of the game of poker, live events have become just as popular as playing online. Therefore the new Northern Irish laws will be designed to comply with the provisions of the EU, and unlike various EU countries, which have been recently seen taking the law into their own hands, the Northern Irish have no desire to take the EU Commission head on.

The other crucial aspect according to Minister McCausand, is that the original Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements laws were promulgate in 1985, and only dealt with the activities of bingo clubs, gaming machines, and so on. The times, they are a changing, and therefore so too must the laws. Gambling is so much more than mere bingo today, and is available across a wide variety of channels.

He is also keen that their laws should fit with the laws of the EU, and has in fact made it clear that they wish to have strict adherence with EU provisions.

There is also the matter of the Problem Gambling Review, when in 2009, problem gambling numbers were… well… a problem. At the time the review was conducted it revealed that at least 2% of the Northern Irish population, were actually gamblers with problems. This was a highly damaging review, and at the time, although poker was not mentioned per se, online poker operators had something to say. Operators such as Betfair, Paddy Power and Ladbrokes, are highly reputed brands in this industry, and obviously had something strong to say regarding the results of this review.

However, new laws will increase player protection, as well as address specific loopholes that seem to be present in the current gambling system. As EU law is not anti-online gambling, we don’t see any difficulty with new Northern Ireland law. They have absolutely committed themselves to strictly comply with the EU. Regulations and standards in the UK are being extensively studied to ensure a similar model for this independently governed territory.

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Online Gambling Gets Greedy Gambler Grabbed By The Law

Posted by Gambling News | Gambling Industry News,Gambling News | Friday 14 September 2012 8:27 am

I have always maintained that when it comes down to problematic situations, people are the problem, not the situation. So, as far as problem gambling is concerned, people are the problem, not the gambling game. This little story only goes to prove my point even more, it tells how an Oldbury resident with a problem blew more than £4k of his neighbours’ money.

Thousands of pounds were entrusted to 28 year old John Rourke, of Oldbury, however apparently, Rourke could not be trusted. The courts heard how he was given £14,272.96 by fifteen of the residents of Henderson Court, while they switched property management firms. The property company was responsible for the up-keep of their maisonette units. They were not happy with the existing service. Over £9,000 was transferred but he frittered away the rest playing at online gambling websites.

Despite the fact that his neighbours badgered him to hand over the rest of money to Barclays Property Services for more than two months, no money came to light. Basically all they wanted to know was what happened to the rest of the money. He simply blamed the banks; not a difficult thing to do these days saying they were the ones making mistakes with the transfer. The total amount of the shortfall was £4,891.08, the Magistrates Court was told.

Eventually he admitted the theft to investigators say, and has also since moved to another address. The greedy gambler who inadvertently gives a bad name to online gambling, was eventually handed a twelve-week sentence and told to pay back the amount in full as compensation for the loss. He is now under supervision with an electronic tag for twelve months, as well as on a curfew between 8pm, and 7am daily.

What we have to bear in mind is that not all online gamblers behave so badly, it takes all types to make up the world, and by the same token, gambling games, as we said previously, are not the problem. It is easy to blame a game or gambling over all when a person is in denial, but we all have to be responsible for our own actions or inactions.

It is only when a problem gambler admits to him/herself that they have a problem, that they will be receptive to help. In this case the defendant surrendered himself to the police and was forthcoming in admitting what he had done, when he eventually realised he could no longer get away with the farce. Eventually he did take responsibility for his poor judgement, and the courts definitely take this into consideration when handing down a sentence.

Fortunately for us, the British Government makes sure that warnings are present at all the above-board gambling online services. This includes self-exclusion, as well as links to various help programmes such as GambleAware. Most are eCOGRA certified, so, look out for this accreditation too, and it means that recourse is available to take care of consumer needs, it also ensures quality control.

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