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Parliamentary questions
18 December 2007
WRITTEN QUESTION by Hannu Takkula (ALDE) to the Commission

 Subject: Restricting gambling on the Internet

It ought to be possible to restrict gambling on the Internet throughout the European Union. Consideration should even be given to a total ban on gambling.

Gambling on the Internet has caused serious financial problems to individuals. According to research in Finland, for example, Internet poker is the second biggest cause of gambling dependence. This has been concluded from calls to a telephone helpline for people with gambling problems. The majority of callers were young adult males.

Operators of Internet gambling businesses include organised criminals, who use them to launder money. On the other hand, the proceeds from gambling organised under strict national supervision are mainly used for public health work.

There are various ways in which the playing of Internet poker could be restricted or prevented. In some countries, it is simply prohibited to offer the public the opportunity to gamble on the Internet, but in Italy for example access to poker services is prevented technically in cooperation with network operators. In Finland too, a technical system has been created for censoring webpages. So far at least, the only declared use to which it has been put is to filter out child pornography.

Among the countries of the European Economic Area, a draft law has been tabled in Norway which would make it possible to censor poker games on the Internet.

What will the Commission do to reduce gambling dependence among EU citizens?

Original language of question: FIOJ C 191, 29/07/2008
Last updated: 7 January 2008Legal notice