EC Releases Gambling Green Paper

A team of experts will soon be drafted by the European Commission (EC) to dissect the EU’s current online gambling laws and how it impacts upon players and operators alike. It will also broadcast the much anticipated Green Paper on internet gambling services within the internal market.

Experts will mainly focus on information that has been gathered by the ECJ (Court of Justice of the EU or CJEU) taking into account a number of cases brought forward by European internet casinos the likes of Bwin, Ladbrokes and Betfair that have been denied access to Member States’ gambling markets, that has violated single market protocols set forth in Articles 49 and 56 of the EU Treaty.

The French and Italian licensing gambling markets’ feasibility within the EU law will also be investigated by the Commission (of late in France) and concerns put forward pertaining to the proposals of Belgium and Romania. Since it started working on the Green Paper in 2010 the EC halted all contravention proceedings introduced against Member States.

Remote Gambling Association chief lobbyist, Clive Hawkswood requested the industry to acknowledge that the EU has waived single market protections for internet gambling and should rather concentrate on regulatory values between regimes.

Hawkswood said recently his organisation looks forward to be part of the consultation process, however stipulated it could take a while before a conclusion is reached: “Slowly but surely a number of Member States will start to regulate internet gambling legislation at national level. It is imperative the European Commission takes full responsibility and ensures that new regimes are fully acquiescent with EU law.”

Hawkswood said irrespective of the RGA’s willingness to combat problem gambling, fraud and money laundering, it would fully assist where possible, however “it was astonished that the Green Paper hardly addresses the question concerning Member States’ limitations on the freedoms of the Internal Market.”

He explained: “We are worried as a result of no interest displayed and taking into account the amount of awaiting encroachment proceedings, the perpetual flow of referrals to the CJEU, the official complaints from the casino industry and the Commission’s task as guardian of the Treaties”, said the head of the lobby group.

The RGA chief executive said it’s irritating that the continuous denial of market admission by EU states also hampers competition, modernization, player value and choice. “In essence it chokes the progress of a sector where European-based internet casinos could become global leaders. It’s important we sidetrack a situation whereby jurisdictions use the Green Paper process as a smoke screen and whatever comes out of it, to apply regulations that is not in conformity with the rules of the Internal Market.”



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