EGBA’s Maarten Haijer Calls on EU to Standardize Gambling Laws
Maarten Haijer of the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) called on the European Union to standardize gambing regulations among all 28 member states. EGBA’s secretary general said EU regulations would lead to better management of gambling services and create “more effective cross-border online gaming platform management” among the various nations.
Citing a recent study by City University of London, Haijer said the patchwork regulation of gambling leaves major gaps that bad actors can exploit.
Only half of the member countries have working self-exclusion policies. Even the fourteen solid self-exclusion laws are interoperable among other EU states, so a self-excluded player can play in any of the other 26 states’ online gaming sites.
Maarten Haijer said, “The challenges are obvious: The internet has no national borders, which means Europeans can easily play on gambling websites based in countries other than where they live. But the quality of national gambling regulations in the EU varies significantly and there is no consistency between them.”
Self-Exclusion Policies Lack Electronic IDs
The 2018 City University of London study found that Denmark is the only country which implemented the EU recommended gambling regulations it published in 2014. Even among the remaining countries that have self-exclusion, some self-ban registries are hardly comprehensive. Some allow land-based gambling to continue, or leave online self-exclusion out of the process.
Only half of the states allow electronic identification to assure compliance once a person self-excludes. Only half allow access to public databases, which means the registries are useless for online gambling purposes.
EGBA Leader: “It Is Time to Act”
EGBA’s secretary general said lax rules leave problem gamblers and underage gamblers at particular risk. In a call to action, he added, “It is 2019: If the EU is really serious about making the digital single market work for its consumers, there is no reason why online gamblers living in one member country should be less protected than those living in another. It is time to act.”
“One set of rules would also benefit our members’ companies: one set of rules would be clear and would lessen the costs and risks of meeting 28 different, and sometimes conflicting, sets of rules.”
Underage Gambling Laxity
A little over a dozen of the national policies requires websites to display a “No Underage Gambling” banner on gaming sites. The lack of public databases for many countries means that age verification software does not work properly.
Not only does the patchwork regulatory framework allow minors to gamble at leisure in many countries, but it leaves the door open to fraudsters of all kinds.
Identity thieves can exploit personal information, while cyber-attacks are more likely. A standardized system with full access to signup and self-exclusion registries would provide a great deal more safety and security.
European Commission Reviewing EGBA Document
The European Commission is said to be reviewing the EGBA request already. Earlier, Maarten Haijer called on the use of artificial intelligence to stop fraud. AI can use machine learning to eliminate holes in security systems.
Kindred Group is a leader in the field, as it has developed Player Safety Early Detection System (PS-EDS) to stop fraud. Will Mace of Kindred Futures said PS-EDS remains “rudimentary”, but is still the industry leader.
How Machine Learning Works to Stop Fraud
Will Mace explained how the technology works: “It’s a set of rules to do with behaviour — chasing losses, chasing wins, significant changes in your deposit pattern, that sort of thing. But there can be loads of explanations for those — maybe you bet a couple of quid here and there, then all of a sudden you start betting hundreds of pounds.”
Mace added, “This would probably raise a flag, and we’d look to see if we can understand what’s going on.” The system is similar to how land-based casinos train dealers to spot card counting. In the case of artificial intelligence, the patterns which can be spotted are far more complex.
If all 28 EU countries — or 27, if Brexit ever happens — get on board with the same technology, much of the fraud in European gaming could be eliminated. Standardization makes a lot of sense, but EGBA’s call for unity is likely to be met with hostility or indifference. Most EU governments want to set up their own gaming regulations, because many have state-run monopolies still in play.