ICC: EC cooperation agreement – key to healthy future?

ICC: EC cooperation agreement – key to healthy future?

Monday, February 1, 2016 Totally Gaming
Harrie Temmink hailed the deal as the regulatory highlight of 2015

Europe’s new cooperation arrangement on online gambling will set a benchmark for future regulatory cross-border collaboration across the continent, according to a panel of experts at the International Casino Conference (ICC).

Harrie Temmink, deputy head of Gaming Unit, European Commission, hailed the agreement, which was signed on November 27 last year, and said that he expected all countries to sign up in due course.

“The co-operation agreement between gambling regulators on online services was the biggest achievement of 2015,” said Temmink, speaking at the Hippodrome Casino in London today (Monday).

“We hope that all countries will sign up and we are extremely happy with this arrangement. The more that regulators talk to each other in Europe, the better.

“In online gambling, you cannot be an island. It’s inevitable that you have to work together.”
Charles Coppolani, chairman of France’s ARJEL regulator, described the agreement as “an interesting step”.

He added: “Not all of the countries are in the same situation, but this could help to create a network. It will be important to provide specific objectives through this agreement.

“It’s important we have a regulated market in good health, to reduce regulatory costs.

“Having the opportunity to ask questions easily is a good way of working, but we’re seeing that the differences between offline and online are vanishing.”

Marja Appelman, director of the Kansspelautoriteit regulator in the Netherlands, added that it was a crucial agreement for enhancing regulatory efficiency in Europe.

“I expect a lot from this agreement,” she said. “It is very important to work together with other authorities.

“It is a huge positive to have 26 countries on the same page, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

“We do need to be more effective in fighting illegal operators and collecting cross-border fines. We also need to harmonise technical requirements, while it is worth remembering that the distinction between land-based and online is diminishing.”

Temmink said that the European Commission would continue to focus on online rather than offline gambling.

“We are very careful not to get into land-based gambling as it has less of a cross-border dimension,” added Temmink, who had said earlier that the European Commission is set to follow-up 15 open cases against Member States in 2016, with formal infringement procedures pending against seven states.

“However, if this agreement helps Member States to have conversations with each other, then it is positive.

“One thing the EC doesn’t want is unregulated markets. There are moral and ethical differences in different countries, with monopoly systems and open systems. We can agree with both models as long as the public policy objectives are applied in a consistent manner in all cases.”

 

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