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Online Casino News - March, 2009

EU Report Does Not Liberalize Online Gambling


  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

March 11, 2009

Just when things were looking up for the European facing online gambling industry, the European Union has come together on a vote that will abstain from granting widespread liberalization to the industry. Rather, a vote favoring an "own-initiative" report was overwhelmingly supported by EU member nations, which essentially means that EU harmonized legislation governing online gambling is very unlikely in the near future.

Still, the stance taken does not by any means support State-run gambling monopolies that would otherwise interfere with individual State regulation. Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee Chairperson, Arlene McCarthy (Britain), said that while EU member States have the right to construct and implement their own gambling laws, they do not have the right to enforce hypocritical policies in the interest of government-owned gambling operations.

Support for the report on the "integrity of online gambling", which was brought forth by Danish Socialist member, Christel Schaldemose, not only varied in degree, but for varying reasons as well. Schaldemose herself said the intent of the report was not to restrict the private gaming sector, but rather, to protect people who are vulnerable to the dangers of gambling.

Chair of the European Casino Association, Ron Goudsmit, said that it is the member states who are best suited for guaranteeing consumer protection, while not giving any sufficient evidence as to why this would be the case. The European Lotteries (who was obviously in favor of the ruling), generalized the matter even more by stating that "lifting well-founded restrictions would create issues with consumer protection and public order".

Criticizing the vote was MEP Malcolm Harbour (UK), who argued that internal market rules should apply to online gambling. Harbour pointed out how the United Kingdom has effectively liberalized its own online gambling industry, while still providing a high degree of consumer protection, operator integrity and gaming responsibility.



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