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Pan-European Online Gambling Agreement

By: Joe Valentino, Thursday February 24th 2011
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CEN, the European Committee for Standardization, published the first ever Pan-European consumer protection agreement. This had been in the works for some time and was something the online gambling regulators and trade associations were pushing for. CEN is responsible for drawing up voluntary technical specifications based on a workshop agreement, with the objective of facilitating a single market for European industry and consumers across the 31 member countries of the European Union.

This CEN workshop agreement titled "Responsible Remote Gambling Measures" defines nine policy objectives for the protection of online players in the European Union. It further suggests 134 specific measures essential to ensure that those objectives are actually met. The nine policy objectives are the protection of vulnerable customers, the prevention of underage gambling, combating fraud, protection of privacy, fair gaming, accurate customer payments, responsible marketing, customer satisfaction and safe operating environment. These objectives are not new in themselves. What is path breaking is that a beginning has been made to get all European countries on a common platform for the implementation of the objectives. Experts on problem gambling, online players, industry representatives and addiction and criminology academics were all represented in the workshop and by and large demonstrated consensus on these issues.

eCOGRA CEO, Andrew Beveridge, was the chairperson of the CEN workshop agreement and he welcomed this latest development. He said, "Over the last 7 months, CEN has provided the platform for us to make this agreement to secure the high level of protection for consumers across Europe that is vital for the online gambling industry as it matures. eCOGRA intends to bring into line its own eGAP Requirements with these CWA control measures, thereby benefiting eCOGRA, its seal holders and players." He pointed out that exercise was self regulation at its best, and brought together a wide range of stakeholders from across the world for the benefit of the consumer. He was quick to add that this agreement can only complement existing industry standards and should be a part of both national and European Union regulation of online gambling. He said, "It has been an honour to be part of and chair this process."

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) also joined in recognizing this far reaching achievement of CEN. CEN is one of three European standardization organizations officially recognized by the European Union. More than 60,000 technical experts as well as business federations, consumer and other societal interest organizations are involved in the CEN network that reaches over 480 million people.

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