|EUROMAT discusses the future of European gambling markets|
|Friday, 31 May 2013 – The European Gaming and Amusement Federation, EUROMAT, gathered in Bucharest (Romania) today to celebrate its Annual General Meeting. This year’s general assembly reiterated the call for effective regulation of the gambling sector; regulation that would ensure a level-playing field across the industry and successfully tackle illegal gambling. Against the backdrop of the rapid rise of online gambling, land-based gambling operators cannot compete when European governments continue to introduce regulations that create preferential frameworks for the online sector both in terms of regulatory requirements and taxation leaving the land-based sector at an unfair and unjustified disadvantage. Annette Kok, President of EUROMAT, stressed that “European governments need to understand that we [the land-based sector] need a fair taxation regime and certain flexibility to adapt our products to the increasingly fast changing need of our customers”.
Looking back on the past year, EUROMAT engaged with the EU institutions in Brussels, ensuring that EUROMAT’s call for a level-playing field was included as the EU looks more carefully into the regulation of online gambling. At the same time the Federation continues to provide assistance to national members. A unified voice of support was given to the Hungarian sector where national legislation eradicated the gaming machine industry outside casinos overnight. EUROMAT continues to monitor ongoing legislative processes across the EU, and raise awareness with the relevant national authorities – in particular when online operators are benefitting from preferential treatment.
EUROMAT members were also joined on this occasion by two distinguished guest speakers. Member of the European Parliament Cristian Buşoi (Romania) gave an overview of the European Parliament’s views on gambling and highlighted the need for a level playing field for all gambling activities across the EU. The President of the newly created National Office for Gambling in Romania (ONJN), Ms. Odeta Nestor, discussed further on the issue of regulating online gambling and her plans for the ONJN. The meeting was also attended by one of the ONJN’s Directors, Mr. Marius Pantea, reflecting the good collaboration that EUROMAT and its Romanian member associations, ROMSLOT and AOPJNR, have with the national regulator.
The Federation released its annual industry figures, which served to underscore the difficult period the industry is facing due, in part to the rise of online gambling and the EU-wide recession. The figures show that between 2010 and 2011 turnover across the EU fell by 3% to €20,820,406,000.
This year’s meeting also saw the re-election of Ms. Annette Kok (Netherlands) as President, Mr Helmut Kafka (Austria) as First Vice-President, and Mr. Roberto Dongiovanni (Belgium) as Treasurer of the Federation.