Gaming Developments In Europe
Given the current global climate many European countries are in favour of legalizing online gambling to boost their ailing economies.
The following European countries Bulgaria, Finland and the United Kingdom made headline news recently.
In 2008 the Bulgarian government started looking at gambling reforms by legalizing internet gambling with a tax on profit at 17% and sports betting to be controlled by the state. In a bid to legalize and monetize internet gambling Bulgaria sent a revised draft internet gambling regulatory legislation to the European Commission (EC) for endorsement this May. The EC has rejected Bulgaria’s efforts according to local media reports.
The restriction placed on advertising is presently is a serious matter indeed. Common sense dictates that without proper advertising campaigns internet casinos won’t be able to garner enough players to become profitable organizations. Many operators have voiced their concerns as per the EC’s criteria that applicants must have a minimum of five years experience in the Bulgarian market. Presently there are more than 200 sites players from Bulgaria can wager at by using either the Lev or Euros as currency.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) issued a stern warning to Bulgarians that they must comply with EC rules and regulations if they want to operate commercially viable internet casinos. Secretary general Sigrid Ligne for EGBA said, “The main requirement stipulated in the bill will not encourage operators to apply for a license. There are still many issues that need to be ironed out first. It’s important how the government handles this situation.”
Veikkaus a Finnish state-owned lottery operator is planning to expand its business into Russia, China and the United States. Vice president of Veikkaus, Olli Sarekoski, said that by July 2011 the subsidiary will be operational. The subsidiary will not be applying for a license in these countries instead it aims to forge close-knit partnerships with local internet casinos, system vendors and advertising companies. Veikkaus will concentrate mainly on non-European markets to avoid jeopardizing its own monopoly.
The UK government Department of Culture, Media and Sport appointed a select committee to reassess the gambling industry as well as the Gambling Act of 2005. The committee will also value feedback from gambling vendors, the Act’s impact and to ascertain the efficiency of the Gambling Commission. Many hope that the committee will address issues relating to foreign internet casinos that advertise in the UK market and the exorbitant tax rate imposed on internet gambling by the British government.[addtoany]