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Member States urged to strengthen cooperation on online gambling

25th October 2013 7:18 am GMT

As part of its attempts to crack down on organised crime, corruption and money laundering, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution which emphasises that cooperation and information exchange between Member States, their regulatory bodies, Europol and Eurojust should be reinforced to combat criminal activities in cross-border online gambling activities.

Measures to tackle organised crime, corruption and money laundering were set out in an EU action plan for 2014-2019 recommended by Parliament on Wednesday. Seizing the financial assets of organised crime networks and choking off their sources of income tops the list, with nearly 4,000 international criminal organisations said to be operating in the EU in 2013.

The final proposals were drawn up by Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT) and approved by 526 votes to 25 (with 87 abstentions).

“[The resolution is] a list of concrete actions to be implemented over the next legislative term,” he said. “This is a common challenge to criminal systems.”

The resolution includes a number of recommendations relating to online gambling, while emphasising that cooperation and information exchange between Member States, their regulatory bodies, Europol and Eurojust should be reinforced to combat criminal activities in cross-border online gambling activities.

It recommends that the use of anonymous means of payment to settle bets placed online be banned and that anonymity in online gambling be prevented by enabling host servers to be identified and developing information systems to ensure that any movements of money made through online and offline games are fully traceable.

MEPs called on the Commission to propose an appropriate legislative framework to combat money laundering linked to gambling and betting, in particular sports betting and betting on animals used in blood sports, by providing for new offences such as betting-related match fixing and laying down appropriate penalties and monitoring arrangements involving sports federations, associations, online and offline operators and, where necessary, national authorities.

They also called for more cooperation at European level, coordinated by the Commission, to identify and prohibit online gambling operators engaged in match-fixing activities and other illegal activities.

Sports organisations were urged to establish a code of conduct for all staff with a clear prohibition on manipulating matches for betting or other purposes, a ban on gambling on own matches and an obligation to report awareness of match-fixing with an adequate whistleblower protection mechanism.

The resolution adopted on Wednesday sets out an action plan for the next Parliament, Commission and Council to equip the EU to fight organised crime at international, European and national levels.

It was drafted by the Special Committee on Organised Crime, Corruption and Money Laundering, set up in March 2012 to assess the impact of mafia-type activities on the EU's economy and society and to recommend legislation and other measures.

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