EGBA warns against severe igaming restrictions

Published Jun 8, 2020
[2 mins read]
European Gaming and Betting Association secretary general Maarten Haijer has cautioned against strict restrictions on the igaming sector during the COVID-19 climate. He specifically cited the measures undertaken to protect consumers.
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According to Haijer, these measures could have the opposite effect as they aren’t evidence based, EGBA’s executive noted. Restrictions of deposits in Belgium, for example, didn’t come with any specific justification outside of protecting consumers.

Haijer acknowledged that the enacted measures represented political will to reassure the public and protect vulnerable consumer, but he also noted that players might just switch to offshore gambling markets which do not comply with the same standards regulated companies do, offering much poorer consumer protection measures as a result.

There have also been various studies indicating that the COVID-19 lockdown has not led to an epidemic of excessive gambling. According to the British Gambling Commission (UKGC), 67% citizens have not gambled at all and a third had not spent more time online gambling.

Haijer even said that there had been a notable drop in gambling activities in countries which haven’t introduced any restrictions, too. He further questioned the validity of measures that operate on the principle of “one-size-fits-all.”

Haijer didn’t just urge the government to act differently, though. In fact, he specifically addressed betting agencies and gambling companies, imploring them to show “common sense,” and use the powerful tools already at their disposal to help vulnerable players stay away from harm’s way.

Targeted interventions would make much more sense, Haijer argued. The igaming industry has been changing quickly. Operators do not rely on traditional currencies any more, with mBitCasino recently foregoing FIAT payments. Cloudbet has been another brand to show exemplary consumer protection measures and create an alternative casino gaming environment, powered by the blockchain.

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CGN senior journalist 

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