How to make gambling safer in Europe?

Publication date: 24 Jan 2023

Europe has decided to assess the harms of online gambling according to a common standard. To do this, the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) will develop a document with markers.

Markers represent changes in a gambler’s behavior that indicate an increased risk or danger.

Back in the spring of 2022, EGBA announced the need for a single mechanism to assess the level of European involvement in gambling and betting and the level of gambling addiction among the population. The reason was a study analyzing monitoring and reporting systems in more than 20 countries.

It turned out that data is very difficult to assess and compare in a realistic way. In some countries, lotteries are also categorized as gambling, with a minimum age range of 15 to 18 and a maximum age range of 64 to 75. Besides, some countries (Slovenia, Slovakia, Portugal) focus only on self-exclusion register, without using other instruments to find out the objective number of gambling addicts.  Read more about what responsible gambling is and which measures can make casino and betting sites safer.

By the way, here are the results of this study (data from 2015 to 2020):

  • overall level of gambling addiction from 0.3% (Ireland 2019 and 2020) to 6.4% (Latvia in 2019) of all adults.
  • European gambling involvement rates from 32.9% (Czech Republic in 2016) to 80% (Finland in 2015)
  • the most frequent surveys take place in the UK (quarterly) and the longest gap between surveys is in Denmark (5 years).

It is planned that a single standard should create a safer online gambling environment and strengthen player protection measures. Once markers are identified, effective early intervention mechanisms can be put in place to prevent gambling harm.

The development has been entrusted to the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) and is due to start in the first quarter of 2023. Scientists, health experts, gambling operators and gambling regulators will be involved in this process.

Various medical organizations and gambling operators in Europe have already implemented their own markers of harm in their work, but there is still no generally accepted list. The new document will be a voluntary tool to assess the dangers of gambling. But it is not out of the question that it will be legislated and enforced.

Recall that CEN is made up of the European Union member states as well as Great Britain, Iceland, Norway, North Macedonia, Serbia, Turkey and Switzerland.

The European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) suggests other ways to make online gambling more secure. For instance, almost a year ago, in February 2022, the association supported the introduction of digital identification (e-ID) for European Union residents. Such e-IDs would help gambling and betting sites to verify age and other personal details quickly and as accurately as possible. Therefore, access to gambling would be prohibited to minors and addicts. Similarly, it would help gambling operators streamline their activities and reduce their budget for compliance with various regulations and requirements.

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