Belgium Leading Euro Gambling Initiative

Publish: 26.11.2018

The director of Belgian Gaming Commission, Peter Naessens will be leading a new European project that will help in standardizing online gambling regulations across the EU.  He will be working under the European Committee or Standardization (CEN), where a group of industry bodies and international regulators will help in establishing compliance reporting rules designed for adoption across Europe.

The project looks to establish the guidelines on the data that gambling operators should send to their regulators. It will also define the process for data sharing with regulators. The overall group, Technical Committee 456, headed by ARIEL international affairs office Claire Pinson has been vested with the responsibility to produce these standards.

Pinson met with the committee on Thursday in Paris, where Naessens was elected the project leader. He will now be given the ultimate responsibility for the completion of the guidelines project. His opponent for the election to the post was Mark Pace, the managing director of Gaming Standards Association, the industry group. Though Naessens won the election, Pace may be considered for the role of a co-leader. His position will be decided through an online vote at year-end.

The group is looking forward to the adoption of their standards across most EU nations. However, the attestation to the standards will be voluntary. Interestingly, the project began after the European Commission made a direct request to the CEN. The Brussels origin of the project comes as a renewed interest of the European Commission, especially after it did away with it in December 2017.

The current commission will end its term next year, and the new commission could be interested in bringing a unified gambling approach to Europe. This is also why numerous industry trade groups are interested in this project. The Thursday meeting was attended by representatives from European Lotteries, European Gambling and Betting Association and the European Casino Association.

Point to remember is that Naessens has previously been critical of unified European gambling regulations. In an interview with GamblingCompliance, he said that the efforts to harmonize the regulations across the EU is in the interests of online gambling operators who want to expand their operations to as many countries as possible.

Naessens has changed his point of view since, seeing more value in harmony, especially since the CEN standards are voluntary. He noted that if regulators and public authorities are not involved directly, then “you will arrive at solutions that will never be used.” He also noted that all EU states that want to be a part of the project are already involved.

Pinson also noted that the EU-level standards are not meant to harmonize the national online gambling regulation.