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Harmonised anti-money laundering rules for online gambling


Strasbourg, 11 March 2014 - Online gambling: EGBA salutes today’s European Parliament vote supporting a single set of rules throughout the EU designed to fight the risks of money laundering.

Today the European Parliament adopted by an overwhelming majority revised rules designed to fight the risks of money laundering (4th anti-money laundering directive). The updated rules subject for the first time all gambling services to EU- wide rules to prevent money laundering. With online gambling operators offering their services across Member States, the revised rules will bring greater legal security and consistency to the EU regulated industry.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, welcomes this fundamental legislation and adds: “The EGBA would like to congratulate the European Parliament for its vote on these revised rules. It confirms that online gambling is an inherent cross-border service which, in line with the subsidiarity principle, is better governed by one set of rules at EU level, rather than by 28 different national laws.(1) These rules will further add to the existing body of Internal Market legislation applicable to the gambling sector.(2)

The text as voted by the Parliament today also states that Member States may be exceptionally entitled to exempt certain forms of gambling following approval by the European Commission. Maarten Haijer adds: “If exemptions are to be granted, they will need to be risk-based and supported by clear evidence. The lack of cash money and the transparency and traceability of online gambling transactions in a regulated environment are great assets to mitigate potential risks of money laundering.

The revised rules were first presented by the European Commission in February 2013, and were intensely debated by two parliamentary committees until last month. As the Council and the European Parliament need to agree on the proposed revised rules, negotiations will resume after the European Parliament elections in May 2014.

Maarten Haijer adds to that effect: “We are confident that the European Parliament now has a good basis to come to an agreement with the Council. We hope that the final text will be approved by all institutions by the end of the year as it is vital that the directive is transposed at national level as soon as possible.”




1. According to Article 5 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), in shared competences areas, “the Union shall act only if and in so far as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States …., but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level”.

2. Commission Staff Working Document: Online gambling in the Internal Market, page 15 and further (SWD(2012) 345 final)

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