European Experts Say OnLine Should Be Restricted

16 July 1998

A meeting of experts responsible for controlling and regulating gambling activities in the European countries agreed on a position statement on Friday May 15th in Helsinki. According to the statement, the individual countries should decide whether or not to permit Internet gambling for their adult residents. Gambling on credit may be restricted and gambling must not be used as a means of money laundering.

Nearly 50 experts from 15 European countries were present at the meeting, 'The Gaming Regulators European Forum' in Helsinki over May 13 -16. The meeting concentrated on gambling on the Internet (gaming, betting and lotteries).

The meeting resolved a set of recommendations. In brief, the position was stated as: "Those responsible for the legislation and the controlof gambling at national, or at appropriate regional level [within Europe] should ensure that the players know the rules and that the operations are not used for illegal purposes such as money laundering. Restrictions on gambling credit should be considered. People under the legal age of permission must not be offered opportunities to gamble. Compulsive gamblers should be protected and privacy of the player should be guaranteed. The operators must ensure that all the equipment functions properly."

Finland, where the meeting was held, is a pioneer country in Internet gambling. You can bet and play lotteries online. There is no playing on credit, and a player must deposit cash in a personal account in a pools company before he can start playing. Internet gambling is possible only for those registered as gamblers at a 'pools' [gambling] company. Only a person who has a Finnish social security number and a bank account in a Finnish financial institution may register to gamble.

IGN's Mr.Nambling is a gaming industry consultant and commentator with over 23 years industry experience, Glenn Barry has held senior management positions in Lottery and gaming operations around the world. His claims to fame include starting the first successful US Lotto in NewYork in 1978 and the NSW (Australia) in 1979.