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EUROPEAN COMMISSIONMichel BARNIERMember of the European Commission responsible for Internal Market andServicesOnline   Bet...
Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,May I, first of all, thank the European Parliament for organising this conference...
1. First element: protecting consumers and citizensAlmost 7 million Europeans gamble online. Our aim must be to provide pr...
We will take this into account in our proposal for the fourth Money-Laundering Directive,due in the autumn.We also envisag...
I propose that a group of experts be created, comprising representatives of the MemberStates, to contribute to the prepara...
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Michel BARNIER, DG Internal Market and Services_Online Betting and Gambling in Europe: from Consultation to Action. Conference "How to Regulate Betting and Gambling in Europe – Track record and future perspectives", Brussels 27 June 2012

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Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,
May I, first of all, thank the European Parliament for organising this conference.
Could I also commend the efforts of all the MEPs who have worked on this matter:
Christel SCHALDEMOSE and Jürgen CREUTZMANN, authors of reports on this subject
which have attracted a great deal of attention, and also – to mention just a few – Heide
RÜHLE, Damien ABAD, Cornelis DE JONG and Ashley FOX.
The resolution of 15 November 2011 demonstrated that, broadly speaking, Parliament
shares the Commission's view. Parliament calls in the resolution for specific measures at
European level, whilst respecting the principle of subsidiarity.
The public consultation was a great success; we can be pleased that the debate was
calm and dispassionate, and that today's discussion is focusing on analysing the facts
and the issues rather than on emotional reactions.
We have had the consultation and the ensuing discussion. Now is the time for action.
I promised to do just that when I spoke at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
What can we, what must we do at European level? Help the Member States to effectively
regulate online gaming, in line with their own national traditions but also in compliance
with the Treaty.
Why? To effectively protect consumers and all citizens, whilst responding to the
legitimate expectations of online betting and gambling operators. It should be
remembered that the latter are responding to a demand for these new services.
Is there European added value in protecting our citizens, whilst respecting the principle
of subsidiarity? Yes, because no Member State can deal alone with all the risks
associated with this activity.
However, this added value can take different forms:
• more effectively clamping down on the many illegal websites, often hosted in
offshore havens;
• developing – where this is allowed – a legal alternative which is attractive enough
to permanently undermine any clandestine and therefore unregulated offers;
• it can – and must – also take the form of support measures to prevent any
undesirable drift that could stem from an uncontrolled development of online
betting and gambling.
We need to tackle these challenges together. This is why I will be proposing to the
Commission in the autumn that we adopt a plan of action to effectively regulate and
supervise online betting and gambling.
This plan should offer detailed responses to challenges identified ( I ) and a methodology
for action ( II ).

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Michel BARNIER, DG Internal Market and Services_Online Betting and Gambling in Europe: from Consultation to Action. Conference "How to Regulate Betting and Gambling in Europe – Track record and future perspectives", Brussels 27 June 2012

  1. 1. EUROPEAN COMMISSIONMichel BARNIERMember of the European Commission responsible for Internal Market andServicesOnline Betting and Gambling in Europe: fromConsultation to ActionEuropean Parliament conference "How to Regulate Betting and Gamblingin Europe – Track record and future perspectives", Brussels27 June 2012 SPEECH/12/502
  2. 2. Honourable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen,May I, first of all, thank the European Parliament for organising this conference.Could I also commend the efforts of all the MEPs who have worked on this matter:Christel SCHALDEMOSE and Jürgen CREUTZMANN, authors of reports on this subjectwhich have attracted a great deal of attention, and also – to mention just a few – HeideRÜHLE, Damien ABAD, Cornelis DE JONG and Ashley FOX.The resolution of 15 November 2011 demonstrated that, broadly speaking, Parliamentshares the Commissions view. Parliament calls in the resolution for specific measures atEuropean level, whilst respecting the principle of subsidiarity.The public consultation was a great success; we can be pleased that the debate wascalm and dispassionate, and that todays discussion is focusing on analysing the factsand the issues rather than on emotional reactions.We have had the consultation and the ensuing discussion. Now is the time for action.I promised to do just that when I spoke at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.What can we, what must we do at European level? Help the Member States to effectivelyregulate online gaming, in line with their own national traditions but also in compliancewith the Treaty.Why? To effectively protect consumers and all citizens, whilst responding to thelegitimate expectations of online betting and gambling operators. It should beremembered that the latter are responding to a demand for these new services.Is there European added value in protecting our citizens, whilst respecting the principleof subsidiarity? Yes, because no Member State can deal alone with all the risksassociated with this activity.However, this added value can take different forms: • more effectively clamping down on the many illegal websites, often hosted in offshore havens; • developing – where this is allowed – a legal alternative which is attractive enough to permanently undermine any clandestine and therefore unregulated offers; • it can – and must – also take the form of support measures to prevent any undesirable drift that could stem from an uncontrolled development of online betting and gambling.We need to tackle these challenges together. This is why I will be proposing to theCommission in the autumn that we adopt a plan of action to effectively regulate andsupervise online betting and gambling.This plan should offer detailed responses to challenges identified ( I ) and a methodologyfor action ( II ).I – Detailed responses:It is still too soon to lay these out in detail, but I would like to mention three mainelements which should be included in any future action: 2
  3. 3. 1. First element: protecting consumers and citizensAlmost 7 million Europeans gamble online. Our aim must be to provide protection forthese consumers, as indeed we must protect all citizens against potential risks.Whatever their Member State of residence.a) A first requirement in my view is to develop a set of basic guaranteesapplicable throughout the whole EuropeThe consultation has shown that all the Member States have taken measures to protectconsumers. But these measures can be very different.I am convinced that, through persuasion and dialogue – between Member States butalso with the industry – we can develop a common European base of principles andmeasures of protection. So that all citizens are protected, wherever they are andwhichever legal site they are connecting to.b) The second : protecting minorsChildren use the Internet every day. We have to find ways to stop them gaining accessto betting and gambling sites.Technical solutions in the form of filters exist, but we have to ensure that the technologydevelops in the right direction and, in particular, that the age verification tools remaineffective.In addition to technology, the real key is to raise awareness of the risks, firstly amongparents but also by stepping up safety awareness education.Finally, it is vital for the industry to shoulder its responsibilities.c) The third: responsible advertisingWe need clear rules in this area, in all the Member States. It should be obligatory toprovide certain information.I am referring, of course, to a sign saying that access to the site is prohibited for minors,which must be sufficiently visible. But it is also necessary to place warnings about thefinancial, social and health risks associated with excessive betting or gambling.We already have in Europe legislation to protect the interests of vulnerable consumerswhatever the product or service they buy, such as rules banning aggressive ormisleading commercial practices. We need to consider how best to supplement thesegeneral rules with specific rules on online gambling.d) A last requirement : preventing and curing addictionSo far, there have been insufficient studies to draw firm conclusions about the scale andseriousness of the problem.To make up for this lack of data, the Commission is consulting with several experts inthe context of the Alice Rap project, with the aim of developing common definitions andbetter evaluating the nature and scale of risks. But we have to go further, to develop ananti-addiction policy which is effective because it is based on reality. 2. I now come to the second main element of our action: preventing fraudThe consultation pointed to the need for greater clarity in the application of the Money-Laundering Directive to betting and gambling and to the need to guarantee a levelplaying field for all regulated operators in the EU (online or off-line). 3
  4. 4. We will take this into account in our proposal for the fourth Money-Laundering Directive,due in the autumn.We also envisage a package of measures to better combat all other forms of fraud. Forexample we must tackle the issue of identity theft, and guarantee the security of onlinegambling equipment. 3. Third element: the integrity of sportProtecting the integrity of competitions merits particular attention. The social valueswhich sport encapsulates are in jeopardy.There is no other type of fraud where it is so evidently difficult for Member States totackle it alone. We therefore have to guarantee effective cooperation between thenational regulators, online gambling operators and sports federations to prevent matchfixing.We also have to consider minimum rules on conflicts of interest, perhaps with a ban oncertain types of gambling or the creation of more rigorous control systems.Androulla VASSILIOU spoke this morning about whether to define match fixing atEuropean level and to make it a criminal offence. I agree with her that this is aninteresting but difficult matter to implement.We must continue to consider it, but the immediate priority is to create the basis forEuropean action to support the integrity of sport. Our plan of action will contribute tothis in a very real way.The popularity of sport around the world and the international nature of online gamblingmean that any European action should be part of wider global initiatives.That is why I attach great importance to the EUs active rule within the IOC and theCouncil of Europe, which recently took a series of measures in a context surpassing thatof the EU alone.Ladies and gentlemen,Our Communication in the autumn will also establish a methodology for action, which Iwant to be effective.II – A methodology using all the tools available and taking intoaccount the wide range of situations.How can we translate the objectives in our plan of action into reality on the ground? Iwill mention three ways: 1. Firstly: involve the Member States and develop administrative cooperationI already said last November that our priority should be for the Member States to worktogether in a spirit of mutual trust.To this end, three informal regulators meetings were organised, which were successful.All understand the need for discussion, even if they still need to be persuaded of thenecessary degree of cooperation.We will put forward the structures necessary for effective administrative cooperation inour plan of action. 4
  5. 5. I propose that a group of experts be created, comprising representatives of the MemberStates, to contribute to the preparation and evaluation of European initiatives.We must continue to develop a close and privileged relationship with the regulators. Iwill meet with them once our plan of action has been adopted so as to discuss in moredetail the various aspects. 2. Secondly, encourage the development of an attractive range of legal gambling opportunities where this is allowedThis is probably the only way to effectively dissuade consumers from going on the manyillegal sites which – let us not beat about the bush – will always be difficult to completelysuppress.Aware of this reality, certain Member States have decided to partially liberalise theonline betting and gambling market.In that case – and I would remind you that this is a decision for every Member State tomake – it is important for consumers to be able to distinguish between legal and illicitsites.Moreover, it is also important for legal operators to be able to offer sufficiently attractiveproducts for them to be a credible alternative to the illicit sites, otherwise consumers willcontinue to turn to illicit and unregulated providers. 3. Finally, its essential that the European rules be respectedThe European Parliament has rightly called on the Commission to continue to investigatesituations of non-compliance with the Treaty or the case law of the Court of Justice,which has provided valuable guidelines.I will therefore ask my department to contact all the Member States concerned byongoing cases or complaints in order to remind them of the applicable rules and suggestthat any problematic situations are rectified in line with current case law.If blatant infringements persist, I will not hesitate to propose to my colleagues that theappropriate proceedings be taken or relaunched.The development of a more proactive policy to support the Member States must bematched by a firm determination on the part of the Commission to enforce commonrules once they have been clearly established.Ladies and Gentlemen,We will work with the European Parliament, all the Member States and all thestakeholders to ensure the rapid application and effective monitoring of the Europeanrules we decide to lay down.Please continue to share with me your comments and suggestions. 5

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