European Committee Developing Online Markers Of Harm Standard

January 19, 2023
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The European Committee for Standardisation will develop a common European standard on markers of harm for online gambling.

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The European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) will develop a common European standard on markers of harm for online gambling.

It follows the national standardisation bodies (NSBs) of European countries voting in favour of a proposal to establish the standards submitted by trade group the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) in 2022.

Maarten Haijer, EGBA secretary general, called the decision a “milestone” and a “significant step forward for safer gambling in Europe”, in an announcement on January 18.

“The CEN process will provide a unique and valuable opportunity for key European stakeholders to pull together their resources and expertise to support safer gambling. We look forward to contributing the sector’s knowledge and experience to the process,” Haijer said.

The EGBA classifies markers of harm as “changes in a player’s online gambling behaviour, such as speed, time, and duration of play, that can be used to help identify risky or harmful gambling behaviour”.

The trade group believes that these markers are “essential” to effective early intervention systems designed to prevent gambling-related harm.

“Many organisations, including the health sector and gambling operators, already use markers of harm, but there is no commonly agreed list of behaviours which constitute markers of harm,” the EGBA said.

The CEN vote took place in December 2022.

The project to develop the standards is expected to begin before the end of Q1 2023.

The CEN process allows stakeholders, including academics, health experts, gambling authorities, operators and consumer organisations to contribute to the discussion on the measures, via national delegations.

A spokesperson for the UK Gambling Commission said Brexit has not affected its involvement with the CEN.

“We will be monitoring this project with interest,” the Gambling Commission said.

Some countries, such as Sweden, are represented by authorities other than the gambling regulator when it comes to matters of standardising laws. Instead, the Swedish Institute for Standards (SIS) will be active in the forum, a spokesperson for the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) told VIXIO.

Although the final CEN standard will be a voluntary tool, it can also be made legally binding through legislation, according to the EGBA.

In a separate announcement on December 15, the EGBA outlined in its proposal support for an "essential" European standard on markers of harm that would support the early identification of possible risky or problem gambling behaviour of online players.

In support of the proposal, a joint statement was sent to the CEN from academics, professionals and organisations working to prevent gambling harm in Europe.

The CEN already has a technical committee on gambling standardisation (TC/456), which is now tasked with developing the standard.

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