Conference „Gambling in the Internal Market – Balancing State and Stakeholders' Interests“

  • Date: 15.6.2009 — 16.6.2009
  • Venue: Prague - Czech Republic
  • Category: Conferences and Seminars

Prague hosts conference on gambling in the EU

Representatives from Member States, the gambling industry, various experts and other stakeholders met in Prague on Monday and Tuesday (15-16 June) to talk about the recent and future development of gambling in the EU. The conference “Gambling in the Internal Market” organised by the European Law Academy in close cooperation with the Czech Presidency attracted over 170 participants.

Gambling now represents one of the most interesting fields of the internal market and one that has been developing quite rapidly in recent times. One of the main issues is how to approach the recent boom in on-line gambling services that are made available to consumers in the EU. The Member States generally agree with the operators that protection of consumers and prevention of criminal behaviour must remain the key focus in this area. However, when it comes to concrete measures and legislation, opinions differ.

Recently the European Parliament stressed in its own initiative resolution on the integrity of on-line gambling the risks of services provided via the Internet. A number of stakeholders reacted swiftly pointing out that the situation is much more complex. An important decision of the European Court of Justice in the case “Liga Portuguesa” is expected in the Autumn and many expect it to bring more legal clarity to gambling in the EU. A number of Member States are currently revising their gambling legislation or are in the process of intensive preparations for such a revision.

A number of distinguished speakers from both the academic and the business world, including Prof. Siegbert Alber, former Advocate General at the ECJ, gave the participants a unique opportunity to be informed about the latest developments in this area and to confront their positions with those who have been at the heart of some of the events that have formed the basis of the current gambling legal framework. Apart from legal issues, consumer protection and crime prevention were discussed at the conference. Participants also found the comparisons of the legal regimes of various Member States highly interesting. They were the basis of the second day of the conference.

To provide additional input to the debate among the Member States, the Czech Presidency organised a “Regulators’ Forum” as a follow-up to the Conference. Representatives from the regulatory bodies of the Member States were invited to discuss gambling issues in an informal atmosphere. The participants exchanged their experiences and best practices in a number of areas related to gambling, such as prevention of gambling addiction. The participants among other things agreed on the lack of data in the area of gambling and proposed several concrete steps for improvement. The coordination of methodologies used when producing new studies and surveys in this field would enable the results to be easily compared between Member States. Coordination of requirements for those who are commissioned to undertake such studies (e.g. their independence, expertise etc.) would be also beneficial. National delegates also stressed the importance of sharing available data and made some concrete proposals in this respect. Apart from the importance of accurate data, the potential for increased cross-border cooperation between national regulators was highlighted.


Contact:

  • Radka Kohutová, Spokeswoman of the Ministry of Finance
  • Tel. : +420 257 042 103, GSM: +420 724 845 394, E-mail: radka.kohutova@mfcr.cz


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