Parliament called on the Commission to explore the possibilities for stronger cooperation to fight illegal online gambling and protect vulnerable consumers in a vote on Tuesday. Stronger cooperation among Member States, common standards or a framework directive could be possible tools to this end, MEPs say.

EU Member States should be free to maintain their own rules on online gambling, MEPs stress. However, due to the cross-border nature of this activity there is a clear added value to be gained by an EU-wide coordinated approach in some areas, notably the fight against illegal gambling and protecting children and vulnerable adults from addictions.

About 10% of all gambling in Europe, with a market volume in excess of € 10 billion, is done on the internet, via mobile phones or interactive platforms and the market is growing. The non-legislative resolution by Jürgen Creutzmann (ALDE, DE) sets out Parliaments position on the Commission Green Paper of March 2011.

"Member States must work must closer together on this issue. However, this will not suffice to solve the problems outlined. In the future, the EU will also have to play a stronger role", said the rapporteur in the debate prior to the vote.

Gambling licence for operators

To fight the black market, the resolution suggests that Member States should introduce a licensing model to provide security for gamblers and ensure that gambling providers meet the criteria imposed by the host Member State.

MEPs also call on the Commission to examine the possibility of blocking financial transactions between banks or credit card issuers and blacklisted gambling providers.

Protecting minors and preventing addictions

Online gambling may involve a greater risk of addiction than other kinds, due to easy access and the absence of social control, the resolution notes. It emphasises that in order to protect especially vulnerable and young players, controls such as age verification and restrictions for electronic payment need to be in place before any gaming activity begins.

To protect children and vulnerable adults, MEPs also call on the Commission to explore common standards for operators or a framework directive and say that a European code of conduct for online gambling could be a first step.

The resolution was approved by a show of hands.

Procedure: Non-legislative resolution