Europe Quarrels over Gambling Jurisdiction

By Maria McCoyGoogle

The EU Parliament recently passed a resolution mandating European Union member states to adhere to European Commission free market standards and authorizing the EC to take legal action against states who fail to do so.   Subsequently, action has been taken against Germany and Greece. These resolutions are in place to help protect the online casino gambler and make sure the market is fair and open so that players can get the best online casino bonuses.

Regarding Germany, Betfair, the German online casino operator, has come under scrutiny.  According to the complaint filed by the EC, the German regulatory bodies are unfairly providing German gambling operators with monopolies.  According to the free market standards, it is forbidden for a German province to withhold licensing from foreign operators as long as they meet EC standards.  The allegation is that the German regulatory authorities have been holding back licensing in order to protect the interests of local operators.  If Germany does not change the situation, the EC could hold back approval of German casinos.  While some German officials are downplaying the severity of the issue, many in the European gambling industry believe that the EC will force Germany to submit to the union-wide standards. 

A complaint was filed against the Greek authorities by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).  The local online gambling laws in Greece had already received criticism from the EC at the time of their legislation.  In Greece, licensing required maintaining a permanent place of operations on Greek soil.  Furthermore, they even have to perform their financial transactions via Greek banks.  The RGA and EGBA are complaining that this essentially creates a monopoly for Greek operators in the Greek market.  RGA head Clive Hawkswood said that though he was happy the Greek government finally decided to open up their market to online gambling, they nonetheless need to comply with Europe’s accepted free market standards. 

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