THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION has issued new recommendations to “safeguard health and minimise the eventual economic harm” that could result from compulsive or excessive gambling online.
The recommendations call for member states to designate a specific, competent regulatory body to monitor online gambling, and suggest providing players with a set of tools to inform themselves about their winnings and losses as they play.
The Commission is urging member states to ensure that minors cannot gamble online and that their contact with gambling, such as through advertising, is minimised. Advertisements for online gambling should not make unfounded statements about a player’s prospects of winning, nor should they put pressure on people (especially minors) to take part, it says.
It also recommends a registration process for player accounts, so that users have to provide information on their age and identity for gambling operators to verify.
While registering, players could be given an opportunity to set spending limits or sign up for alerts about their winnings or losses as they gamble online, according to the recommendations.
Players should be provided with ongoing support to prevent gambling-related problems and have access to the relevant helplines. Meanwhile, member states should make sure that online gambling operators are given suitable training for interacting with players about gambling issues.
Member states’ gambling regulations should set out the basic information requirements for gambling sites – particularly in relation to outlining the risks to players. The Commission also recommends member states collect data about the opening and closing of player accounts.
The Commission’s recommendations were informed in part by a recent study on online gambling. The study noted that financial limits and alerts were the most effective consumer-measure tested by the study in leading users to think more about the money they were spending on their online gambling.