Tag Archives: Administrative control

Online gambling

Online gambling

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Online gambling


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Internal market > Single market for services

Online gambling (Green Paper)

In 2008, gambling revenues reached EUR 75.9 billion. Online gambling is the fastest-growing gaming sector. This growth, and that of the Internet, makes monitoring these cross-border services difficult. National legal frameworks vary enormously from one EU country to another, imposing different rules for licensing, related online services, payments, public interest objectives, and the fight against fraud. The Commission therefore decided to launch a consultation to identify common practices which would facilitate the provision of cross-border services. The aim is to achieve a regulated internal market for online gambling.

Document or Iniciative

European Commission Green Paper of 24 March 2011, on on-line gambling in the Internal Market [COM(2011) 128 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


This Green Paper aims to launch a debate on the development of online gambling in the European Union (EU). There are currently two national models applied in this sector, namely:

  • a strictly regulated framework within which licensed operators provide services;
  • a strictly controlled monopoly.

However, the development of extensive illegal or “black” online markets (markets consisting of unlicensed operators) or “grey” markets poses a number of challenges. It is for this reason that the European Commission wishes to consult the various stakeholders in order to better frame the development of such activities at cooperative or cross-border levels.

Definition and current legislation

Gambling falls under Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) and is governed by service provision rules. The terms covers a wide range of service activities which individuals can access directly by electronic means, such as:

  • online sports betting;
  • casino games;
  • media games;
  • promotional games;
  • gambling services operated by and for the benefit of recognised charities and non-profit making organisations;
  • lottery services.

The Internet and other technological platforms (i.e. mobile telephones) are used in online gaming:

  • to offer gambling services to consumers;
  • to allow consumers to bet or gamble against each other (betting exchanges or online poker);
  • as a distribution technique (e.g. lottery tickets).

Communication techniques used by providers of online gaming services for promotion and supply

The main communication techniques used to promote online services are:

  • TV advertising;
  • printed press advertising;
  • online commercial communications;
  • sales promotions (e.g. premium offers);
  • direct marketing;
  • sponsorship agreements;
  • online banners and pop-ups on non-gambling sites.

Payment services and pay-outs

Generally, operators require customers to deposit funds on player accounts before playing by using:

  • credit cards;
  • e-Wallets;
  • bank transfers;
  • pre-paid cards;
  • cash transfers.

Customer identification

Customer identification is necessary for the protection of minors, the prevention of money laundering and fraud, and “know-your-customer” controls. However, the absence of mutual recognition of identification services across the EU raises difficulties.

Public interest objectives

The Commission identifies three public interest objectives which may be valid for Member States in defining their national online gambling policies:

  • consumer protection: this involves protecting gamblers against fraudulent services, particularly gamblers suffering from addiction. Member States already have available a number of instruments such as age limits, bans on the use of credit or restrictions on certain forms of games. The Commission proposes to discuss the effectiveness of such instruments in protecting consumers;
  • public order: Member States should seek to prevent fraud and unfair games, as well as money laundering. The Commission notes the application of certain types of measures such as customer due diligence, payment controls and operational controls in combating these practices;
  • financing of public interest activities: methods for channelling gambling revenues vary considerably from one Member State to another. The Commission wishes to examine more closely systems of revenue returns to event organisers, and the risks of “free-riding” revenue channelling schemes through the provision of online gambling services.

Payment blocking and liability regimes

Member States have a wide range of practices to manage the licensing, regulation and monitoring of online gaming. Through this Green Paper, the Commission wishes to analyse the actual role of regulatory bodies in the Member States.

Gambling authorities could cooperate with national and European stakeholders. The Commission wishes to strengthen this type of cooperation.

In some Member States, there are blocking schemes to limit illicit and cross-border online gambling services by:

  • Domain Name System (DNS) filtering;
  • Internet Protocol (IP) blocking;
  • Payment blocking, based on the operators’ Merchant Category Code (MCC).

The Commission intends to develop tools to foster this type of procedure at cross-border level, as well as other practices.

The European Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The European Ombudsman


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Citizenship of the Union

The European Ombudsman

Document or Iniciative

European Parliament Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom of 9 March 1994 on the regulations and general conditions governing the performance of the Ombudsman’s duties [See amending acts].


This European Parliament Decision establishes the position of the European Ombudsman and the conditions under which he works.

Combating maladministration

The main role of the European Ombudsman is to investigate cases of maladministration by Community bodies and institutions. To this end, these bodies and institutions must provide the Ombudsman with all the information he requires and indicate if any of this information is classified. If so, access to the information is regulated by the security rules of the body or institution in question, as provided by Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents. Member States may also be required to provide information to the Ombudsman. However, if this information is covered by laws on secrecy, the Ombudsman must not divulge it further. If the requested assistance is not provided, the Ombudsman informs the European Parliament, which then takes the necessary steps.

The Ombudsman may act either on his own initiative or following a complaint. The complainant may refer a matter to the Ombudsman via a Member of the European Parliament, but this is not obligatory.

The Court of Justice and the Court of First Instance, in the exercise of their judicial function, are excluded from the scope of the Ombudsman’s powers. The Ombudsman is not empowered to investigate cases of maladministration by national, regional or local governments in the Member States. Neither can he intervene in a case already brought before a court, nor question the validity of a court decision.

Taking a complaint to the European Ombudsman

Persons wishing to submit a complaint to the European Ombudsman must meet certain eligibility conditions:

  • The complainant: any European citizen, or other natural or legal person residing or having a registered office in one of the Member States of the Union, may submit a complaint. The complainant does not have to be affected directly by the case of maladministration.
  • The subject of the complaint: the complaint must relate solely to a case of maladministration on the part of a Community body or institution. “Maladministration” means, for example, an abuse of power, administrative irregularities, discrimination, etc.
  • The deadline: a complaint regarding a case of maladministration must be lodged within two years of the date on which the facts were brought to the citizen’s attention. It should be noted that the submission of a complaint to the Ombudsman does not affect the deadlines set in any other legal or administrative procedures.
  • The last resort principle: before submitting a complaint, the complainant must take the relevant administrative steps with the institution(s) concerned.

After the initial investigations, if the Ombudsman finds that a complaint is eligible, he informs the institution concerned and asks it to submit a detailed opinion within three months. Following this, the Ombudsman will send a report, with possible recommendations, to both the European Parliament and the institution concerned. The complainant will then be given the results of the Ombudsman’s inquiries, and possible recommendations, as well as the opinion of the institution concerned. The complainant has one month to submit any comments.

If the Ombudsman finds evidence of any criminal wrongdoing, he must immediately inform the national authorities, the Community institution responsible for fighting fraud, or the Community institution for which the official or agent in question works.

The Ombudsman may cooperate, under certain circumstances, with similar national authorities in order to enhance its investigations and to better protect the rights of the complainants. Likewise, the Ombudsman may also cooperate with national institutions responsible for protecting and promoting fundamental rights.

Appointment of the Ombudsman

The European Ombudsman is elected by the European Parliament for the Parliament’s term of office (five years), with the possibility of reappointment. He is chosen among those citizens of the Union who are in full possession of their civil and political rights and who are not subject to any conflict of interest. The person chosen must be capable of exercising a senior legal function or have a demonstrated ability to accomplish the tasks of the Ombudsman.

10 The Ombudsman acts independently and accepts no instructions from any government or other organisation. During the term of his mandate, he may not exercise any other political or administrative function or occupation, paid or unpaid. He is assisted by a secretariat.

An Ombudsman who no longer meets these conditions or who has committed a grave error may be dismissed by the Court of Justice of the European Communities, at the request of the European Parliament.


The position of Ombudsman was established by the Treaty on European Union (TEU, 1992).


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/262/ECSC, EC, Euratom 4.5.1994 OJ L 113 of 4.5.1994
Amending act(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2002/262/EC, ECSC, Euratom 9.4.2002
Applicable with effect: 1.1.2000
OJ L 92 of 9.4.2002
Decision 2008/587/EC, Euratom 31.7.2008 OJ L 189 of 17.7.2008

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.