​​​​​​Legal Developments at European Level

5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive

In December 2017, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the European Council agreed to the amendment of the 4th Anti-Money Laundering Directive. The new 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive was published in June 2018 and must be transposed into the national laws of the EU Member States by the end of 2019.

The 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive foresees the following changes:

  • Greater transparency for electronic money products and stricter customer due diligence measures
  • Inclusion of providers of exchange services for virtual currencies within the scope of the anti-money laundering directive
  • Enhanced due diligence obligations with regard to high-risk third countries and adherence to enhanced due diligence obligations
  • Increased powers for Financial Intelligence Units
  • More transparency with regard to beneficial owners of companies.

European Casino Association (ECA) and European Lotteries (EL)

The Casinos Austria and Austrian Lotteries Group is represented in the two most important European associations for licensed gaming operators, namely the European Casino Association (ECA) for the casino industry and the European Lotteries (EL) for lottery companies in Europe.

The European Lotteries Association was established in 1983 in Switzerland. It has its headquarters in Lausanne and has also maintained an office in Brussels since 2007. EL members comprise lottery companies from 44 countries, including the 28 EU Member States. 

More than 900 casino operations in 29 countries across Europe are represented in the European Casino Association. Founded in the early 1990s as the European Casino Forum, the ECA has since continually grown and extended its reach.

The ECA and the EL thus represent Europe’s licensed and responsible gaming operators. Since 2015 – on the initiative of Casinos Austria and as the only casino association worldwide  – the ECA has also been a member of the UN Global Compact.

The uncontrolled rise in unlicensed gaming operations, both in the form of illegal slot parlors and cross-border online gaming sites that are either illegal or do not hold a license to operate in a given country, is viewed by the EL and the ECA as one of the biggest challenges and threats facing licensed gaming operators.

Both associations therefore strongly support and advocate the stringent enforcement of all applicable national gaming laws. They also call for online gaming to be subject to the same strict rules and regulations that apply to licensed terrestrial gaming.

Online gaming must be subject without restriction to the applicable national gaming laws and regulations in the country in which an online gaming site is accessible. In this context, it is important to note that several rulings issued by the European Court of Justice in 2016 underscore the validity and applicability of the principle of subsidiarity.

As a logical consequence, the European Commission announced in 2017 that it had closed all corresponding contract infringement procedures and would no longer handle any complaints regarding the gaming sector. This decision underscores the importance of strong and committed lobbies in Brussels.

Casinos Austria AG plays a key role in the ECA. Casinos Austria Director Dietmar Hoscher has been a Vice Chairman of the ECA since 2017, where he is responsible for two key areas: Legal & Regulatory Affairs and CSR & Responsible Gaming.