Legislation already exists to regulate the provision of on- and off-line services, and to allow free and fair trade across internal EU borders. In particular, these are the:
Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC)
Services Directive (2006/123/EC)
The Electronic Commerce Directive allows an online business operator (retail, financial services, newspapers, lawyers etc) legally established in one Member State to provide services to customers in another. The Directive establishes harmonized rules on issues such as transparency, commercial communications and electronic contracts.
The Services Directive establishes a general legal framework which favours freedom of establishment for providers as well as the free movement of services, while guaranteeing the rights of the recipient and a superior level of quality of the services.
However, both these measures exclude gambling from their scope of application.
As Member States have often expressed their reluctance to accept harmonization in the area of gambling, an amendment of the abovementioned Directives could be a solution to ensure the proper functioning of the online gambling market.