The online gambling market is growing rapidly with betting being the biggest sector. Gambling is regulated by the Member States (MS). Frameworks vary with some MS having no specific regulation, some employing licensing systems and others imposing complete bans.
The independence of MS has also been underlined by EU case law. Gambling is considered an economic activity which falls under the free movement of services and establishment, but several restrictions have been considered justified. Moreover, the obligation for MS to mutually recognise authorisations by other MS has been rejected. It is disputed whether more harmonisation is necessary to tackle the problems and opportunities of the market.
Match fixing in sport has been prevalent in recent years and many stakeholders have called for EU-wide criminalisation of such activities.
The problems related to gambling addiction are widely recognised in MS, however, surveillance and information vary significantly. Social gaming brings new risks, in particular for young internet users.
The Commission has decided it is not appropriate at this stage to propose sector-specific EU legislation, however, during the course of consultations stakeholders have called for policy action in certain key areas.