Many Member States do not yet have a definition of online gambling at national level. There is a need for any definition to encompass all forms of gambling and all forms of electronic or distance communication, such as internet, mobile phone, digital TV. A number of jurisdictions therefore do not refer to online gambling but to remote gambling in order to have a more technology neutral term given evolving information and communications technologies.
Gambling services offered by the media are typically covered by national gambling laws.
Generally no distinction is made between gambling and promotional games if these fulfil the conditions of application of the respective gambling law (stake, prize, random outcome). In some cases specific rules for commercial communication games are laid down in the gambling law. In other cases Member States have specific rules in their consumer protection regulations or have established specific acts or codes of conduct for promotional games.
Promotional games not involving a stake but promoting other games of chance may also fall within the scope of the national gambling law.
The definition as set down in the e-Commerce Directive should be maintained for gambling and that it should be combined with that for information society services as set down in Directive 98/34/EC, as amended by Directive 98/48/EC (1). In this respect, the following common definition for online gambling services should be applied as defining the scope of the consultation:
Online gambling services are any service which involves wagering a stake with monetary value in games of chance, including lotteries and betting transactions that are provided at a distance, by electronic means and at the individual request of a recipient of services.
Most responses to consultations supported this definition as a basis for discussions at European level. At the same time some respondents raised concern that such a definition is too restrictive, in particular because of the criteria “individual request of a recipient of services”, and would incorrectly exclude certain activities from the term “online gambling”.
(1) Directive 98/34/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 June 1998 laying down a procedure for the provision of information in the field of technical standards and regulations