The European Commission has adopted yesterday a Green Paper on on-line gambling. In order to ensure legal certainty and effective protection of EU citizens in this fast-growing cross-border service activity, the Commission wants to evaluate how possibly differing models can co-exist within the Internal Market and obtain a facts-based picture of the existing situation in the EU on-line gambling market and of the different national regulatory models.
In a preliminary reaction issued right after the launch of the EC Green Paper, the EPFL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros has stated: “The EPFL has been at the forefront of the battle for sports betting regulation for years. We therefore welcome this important step forward and are particularly encouraged by the fact that the European Commission has acknowledged that it is essential to safeguard the integrity of sporting competitions and the economic viability and sustainability of sport.”
Corresponding to the EPFL’s call for greater protection for the Leagues’ intellectual property rights and proper regulation sports betting, the EU Commissioner in charge of Internal Market and Services, Mr. Michel Barnier, had already announced, at the EPFL General Assembly held on 23 July 2010: “I will launch an important consultation on on-line sports betting through a Green Paper and invite the EPFL to participate in it“. Acknowledging the concerns voiced by the European Leagues, Commissioner Barnier explained on that occasion that the European Commission would look to “France, Spain, UK Germany, Portugal and other countries to build a common core bringing together the best legislation and best practice” and invoked the recent French legislation which consecrates the sports organisers’rights and a fair financial return for sports bodies from betting operators for the commercial use of their rights contents for betting purposes.
As the EPFL has already announced, sports betting regulation will be at the top of agenda of its upcoming General Assembly (Manchester, 30 March 2011), which will count with the participation of the European Commission. At the Leagues’ supreme body, the EPFL will present three innovative and impacting initiatives:
– The EPFL Football Betting Manifesto: to indicate the direction the EPFL and its Member Leagues are taking with regard to a rolling programme of integrity protection developments and the parallel creation of mechanisms that allow a fair financial return to football.
– The EPFL Code of Conduct on Sports Betting Integrity: to safeguard and to further protect the integrity of the Leagues’ competitions and providing a guidance on the fight against unlawful betting and match-fixing.
– The EPFL Betting Operators Standards: to be complied with by operators, in particular assisting Member Leagues to prevent and fight against offences committed by fraudsters and/or participants.