ECA Vice-Chair Hoscher calls for increased action against unlicensed online gambling providers at national level

On the occasion of the 12th Conference of the European Association of the Study of Gambling (EASG) on Malta, ECA Vice-Chair Prof. Dietmar Hoscher gave a keynote on the challenges of illegal online gambling and the need for strong national actions.

As Hoscher highlighted, relevant case law and secondary legislation at EU level clearly underline the principle of subsidiarity and requirement for national licenses for the legal provision of online gambling services without mutual recognition. Despite the successes of some countries in stopping illegal gambling, the available data shows that the provision of illegal online gambling is on the rise in many EU countries where the issue is not yet sufficiently tackled. The continued provision of unlicensed online gambling services has led to an undermining of consumer protection measures, regulatory efforts at national level and puts tax contributions and funding for good causes at risk. There is also a threat of links to organised crime and money laundering in connection with illegal online gambling.

Reacting to these challenges, Hoscher argued in his keynote that: “Policy-makers, regulators and all stakeholders involved need to join forces and stop the provision of illegal online gambling. This requires strengthened enforcement of national gambling legislation through blacklists, IP blocking and payment blocking, as well as cooperation with online platforms and intermediaries. There is clearly a need and willingness to cooperate between regulators, the licensed gambling industry and other stakeholders to effectively tackle the issue.”

The EASG conference came ahead of the annual conference of the International Association of Gaming Regulators (IAGR) in Copenhagen, Denmark where these issues will also be on the agenda. In addition, the ECA has published a position paper on illegal gambling, as well as a report on the “Use and effectiveness of enforcement measures against unlicensed gambling operators in Europe”. Both can be found here.

The European Association for the Study of Gambling is a think tank at the intersection of academia, industry, regulators and politics that organises the conference every two years with experts from across the globe. Besides the conference, the association also conducts research projects to support sound policy-making in the area of gambling. ECA Vice-Chair Prof. Hoscher is also a board member of the EASG.