European Lotteries (EL) has urged the representatives of the EU member states to exclude specific mention of online gambling and betting services when discussing the Digital Services Act (DSA) legislative proposal. The final text makes specific reference and, according to EL, wrongly implies that national regulations on illegal content in the gambling sector are often not in compliance with the EU law. Whereas there are definitely restrictions on the freedom to provide online gambling services in most member states, these national laws aim to combat crime and fraud and protect consumers in a manner that meets the requirements set out in the case law of the Court of Justice. “The explicit mention of online gambling and betting services in this particular context is misplaced and should therefore be deleted,” says EL Secretary General, Arjan van ‘t Veer. “It fails to take into account all the relevant case law of the Court of Justice of the EU and the very nuanced approach to the gambling sector due to its peculiar nature. The Court clearly confirmed on several occasions that restrictions in the gambling sector are justified for reasons of public order, public security, public health, as well as for the overriding reasons in the public interest, such as consumer protection, combating fraud, crime or squandering of money. Failing to recognise this means risking increased activities of illegal gambling operators, damaging individuals and society as a whole. EL therefore urges exclusion of explicit mentions of online gambling and betting services from the Digital Services Act in the context of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services.”
The Digital Services Act (DSA) legislative proposal seeks to amend the rules governing online services enshrined in the Directive 2000/31, as these rules are now more than 20 years old. It is generally perceived as a milestone update of how the Internet in the EU will be regulated in the future.