Paddy Power welcomes consultation on online betting in EU
Irish betting firm Paddy Power welcomed the launch yesterday by the European Commission of a major public consultation on online gambling within the region.
The commission said that it hoped to determine whether current rules applicable to online gambling services at an EU level were fit to ensure the "overall co-existence" of national legislative systems and also to determine if greater co-operation at EU level might help member states more effectively achieve the objectives of their gambling policies.
The EU also wants to ensure greater consumer protection. It noted that of the 14,823 active gambling sites in Europe, more than 85pc operated without any licence.
"Enforcement of national rules is facing many challenges, raising the issue of a possible need for enhanced administrative co-operation between competent national authorities, or for other types of action," said the commission.
A spokesman for Paddy Power said the company welcomed more regulation, as it was generally good for the overall industry.
The European Sports Security Association (ESSA), an umbrella body representing gambling firms including Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, PartyGaming and William Hill, said while it welcomed the consultation, it was concerned about comments in the commission's green paper which asserted that sports events on which sports betting can be organised may, due to criminal activities, be subject to a higher risk of match fixing.
Match fixing is an unwanted problem but there is no evidence that offering odds on a match places it at a higher risk of fixing, said the ESSA.
"Sporting contests are manipulated often for purely competitive reasons, such as to secure promotion or prize money," it added.