Posted 2/5/11 : Self regulatory measures increase consumer protection
The European Gaming and Betting Association, a trade body representing most of Europe's major online gambling companies, has released a progress report on new self-regulatory measures aimed at providing a high level of consumer protection and ensuring that remote gambling operators behave responsibly.
The measures are currently awaiting publication by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN).
EGBA quotes John Ketchell, Innovation Director at CEN, who reports that CEN's "Responsible Remote Gambling Measures" covers a list of attributes considered as best practice for companies offering remote gaming services.
Amongst the topics covered are the protection of vulnerable consumers, including prevention of underage gambling, protection of customer privacy and safeguarding of information, commitment to ethical and responsible marketing, to customer satisfaction and support, safe and secure IT environments, and zero tolerance of fraudulent and criminal behaviour.
CEN is one of three European standardisation organisations officially recognised by the European Union, and currently publishes some 1 500 documents annually, all drawn up by experts from industry, governments, consumers, academia, and others in open consensus.
Most CEN publications are formal European Standards, and can take up to three years to develop. CEN Workshops, on the other hand, offer a faster and less formal process, providing an open platform, not simply limited to representatives of national delegations or even to European interests, thus encouraging global participation.
Drawn up on an open basis and with the participation of all relevant stakeholders, standards help ensure a level playing field for industry to market competitive products, to foster innovation and to support consumer requirements for transparency.
These voluntary activities provide an important tool for industry self-regulation. They avoid undue complexity in legal requirements and, since they are drawn up by the expert stakeholders themselves, they are reliable and cost-effective. They can be updated relatively easily compared with the length of time often required for regulatory processes.
The "Responsible Remote Gambling Measures" initiative commenced in May 2010 with 25 registered participating entities, and the draft was based on inputs (over 600 specific contributions were made), with account taken of existing documents, such as voluntary codes of conduct.
CEN then submitted the document to public comment between July and September 2010.
The CEN Workshop participants have now approved the final document, and CEN expects to publish the agreement in February 2011.
"This may only be a first step, in the sense that the CEN community will be ready to consider additional activities when the stakeholders are ready and willing, for example to work towards the creation of a full European Standard in due time," says Ketchell.