Over the last couple of years, the EU institutions have increased their involvement in shaping gambling policy. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) regularly contribute to the EU debate on gambling policy via parliamentary questions, proposed amendments and participation in political and commercial forums. The March 2009 European Parliament Resolution on “The integrity of online gambling” called for wide-ranging EU actions which would have a direct impact on the industry (e.g., introduction of a monthly cap that a person can use for gambling activities, obligation for online gambling operators to make use of prepaid cards to be sold in shops, stricter regulation of advertising or marketing, etc.). Started under the French EU Presidency in 2008, EU Member States’ representatives are also involved in the debate and are now encouraging the European Commission to address the development of an EU gambling policy.
In May 2010, Member States discussed the Spanish EU Presidency’s proposed legal framework for gambling and betting in the EU. A common understanding on a shared definition of illegal gambling was reached. Illegal gambling may be defined as gambling in which operators do not comply with the national law of the country where services are offered, provided those national laws are in compliance with EU Treaty principles. A number of measures adopted by Member States, such as sanctions or IP blocking for online operators, have been identified as possible measures against illegal gambling. These discussions are expected to be continued and deepened in the years to come. A Progress Report was presented to the Competitiveness Council on 25-26 May, during which Malta, however, opposed the aforementioned common definition on illegal gambling.