Posts Tagged ‘online gambling monopoly’

International & European Online Gambling Regulatory Update

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

I recently wrote an op-ed article about the history of online gambling, which inevitably became all about the regulatory landscape. Please correct me if you think I’m wrong in saying this (comment away at the bottom of the post), but it’s pretty evident to me that getting online gambling regulations passed is harder than pulling teeth. And even if it does get passed, it’s a never ending battle to keep it that way! Case in point is the recent developments in Italy.

Now, you may have heard that the Italian Gaming Authority decided to liberalize online bingo in December of last year. Needless to say, 2010 has been pretty productive for the online bingo industry with thousands of Italian citizens taking part in the popular Italian bingo game, “Tombola”. However, it now looks as if online bingo will be put on hold as the Italian government works out it’s system of checks and balances and takes a closer look at the provisions regulating online bingo.

Me personally, I don’t understand how any kind regulation could go into effect without first approving the provisions of said regulation. In other words, before anything like that gets approved, shouldn’t it be looked over first? But then again, there was the UIGEA (attached to a Port Security bill), which by all means, should have already been overturned by now.

On that note, perhaps the recent court ruling in Italy that online bingo regulatory decrees are not in line with Italian law, shows how much more Italian authorities are on the ball? 🙂 It’s not like they are saying no to online bingo. The decision seems more like a mandate that regulations need to get in line with the law – specifically applying to what is being called “interconnected offline bingo” – a procedure that allows bingo rooms to connect their players.

The other alternative would be for an Appeals Court to overturn the lower administrative court’s ruling. At the moment, it’s not known whether this option will be used, or if the Gaming Authority will simply choose to revise regulatory guidelines.

Elsewhere in the world of online gambling regulation, the Finnish gambling monopoly has extended its reach and imbedded itself in the online gambling sector even deeper by granting the Finnish Slot Machine Association, aka RAY, permission to offer online casino games, and the Finnish State lottery, Veikkhaus Oy, to offer online bingo. The move is interpreted as a response to growing competition from private online betting operators, whom Finnish courts have kept out of Finland, citing no inconsistencies with EU law.