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Online Casino News - March, 2009

Malta Against EU Vote on Gaming Regulations


  Seed Newsvine

by Devon Chappell, News Staff Writer

March 29, 2009

Just when Europe looked like it would come to some agreement regarding more universal online gambling regulation standards, the European Union has voted to give individual member nations the right to decide on their own whether to regulate or not. And while it may not be such a bad thing to help get legislators on the same page (if only the U.S. could do something along those lines), to say that member nations are even in the same book is a little bit of a stretch.

It's not that EU member nations are against regulating online gambling. Most of them already have laws in place making it a legal activity. The only catch is that most EU nations also have powerful, State-run gambling monopolies, whose interests are being protected by such legislation. The European Commission has long been pressuring leading EU nations to make legislative changes to foster a free online gaming marketplace - just as the case is with all goods and services amongst EU countries. And while this has worked to some extent (largely because of Commissioner Charlie McCreevy), protectionism is still rampant.

Certainly not helping the liberation of online gambling in Europe was the recent decision to give EU member nations the choice of regulating or not. One of the first organizations to express their disapproval was the Malta Remote Gaming Council, which is one of the premiere licensors and regulators of euro online casinos and all manner of betting sites operating in Europe.

As reported in the Time's of Malta, a vote regarding British MEP, Macolm Harbour's alternative report calling for EU internal regulation of online gambling, was defeated - no thanks due to a lack of awareness from Malta EU representatives. Despite the importance of the issue, especially for Malta, where over 4,000 residents currently work in the online gambling industry, two of the five MEP's did not even show up to the session in which the vote was held.

The General Secretary of the Malta Remote Gaming Council, Alan Alden, said the Council was in shock that only three MEP's voted in favor of the resolutions, and that just one MEP - Simon Busuttil - actually endorsed the resolution from the very beginning. Just how much this vote will adversely affect Malta remains to be seen. One thing is certain - It will be interesting to see who gets reelected and who doesn't in Malta.



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