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Online gambling safe from EU regulation

Job for member states

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The European Parliament has rejected calls for community-wide regulation of online gambling saying it is a job for individual countries.

The Parliament accepted that online gambling: "is easier to access than traditional gambling, increases the risk of fraud, crime, gambling addiction, dangers to children and threats to the integrity of sports events." However it still believes, under the subsidiarity principle, that regulating the business is the job of national governments.

But it does see room for universal standards on issues like age limits, protection of children and problem gamblers and also sees the need to regulate gambling advertising.

MEPs noted that gambling is now the primary income source for many sports.

A minority opinion which was rejected argued that online gambling was an economic activity like any other and therefore should be regulated by internal market rules. They argued that recent action by the European Court of Justice supported this view.

European regulators are also looking at the US which banned foreign companies from offering US citizens online gambling services. The US agreed to pay compensation for this breach of international free trade rules.

The full statement is here.

The report was adopted by 544 votes in favour, 36 against and 66 abstentions. ®

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