Seminar on Online Gambling
Seminar on Online Gambling: How to ensure high-level consumer protection and the funding of grassroots sport
ENGSO, MEP Hannu Takkula (ALDE), MEP Sirpa Pietikinen (EPP) and the beneficiaries of Finnish Lottery Company Veikkaus, co-organised a seminar on online gambling at the European Parliament on 11 April. The focus of the event was to discuss how to ensure high-level consumer protection and the funding of grassroots sport in EU in future. ENGSO President Birgitta Kervinen addressed the issue of sustainable financing of grassroots sports at her speech. She reminded the audience about the financing of good causes, as for sports and in particular for grassroots sport, lottery and online gaming revenues are important sources of funding in many European countries. "Lotteries generate 2 billion EUR per year in EU to sport, in particular to grassroots sport, enabling many children to be physically active and voluntary sport clubs to excist", she stated.
In his opening remarks MEP Takkula also stressed that the financing of grassroots sport needs to be safeguarded. He said that the excisting good national models should not be changed. Marko Hietala, from the Finland's Slot Machine Association RAY, introduced the Finnish model to increase the consumer safety and security. MEP Ivo Belet (EPP), who is a rapporteur of the "Online gambling in the internal market" report on behalf of the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament, raised the points on the protection of consumers and minors, but also the issue of match-fixing and how to tackle this threat to sport. He also said that the redistribution mechanism of revenues to the grassroots sport is needed.
Harrie Temmink, from DG Internal Market and Services of the European Commission gave an overview on Commission's actions in the field of online gambling related to consumer protection and financing of grassroots sport. He mentioned that they are following the process of Council of Europe on drafting a Convention against manipulation of sport results. After this Convention is finalized the Commission will come up with recommendations on fight against match-fixing to have a common document to cover all EU member states. MEP Pietikinen, who is a shadow rapporteur of the "Online gambling in the internal market" report, moderated a lively discussion in the end of the meeting. She also raised questions regarding the consumer protection and the issue how to make the regulations applicable in all member states if an operator does not want to respect the rules.
ENGSO would like to warmly thank the co-organisers of the event for the cooperation and the participants for the discussions.