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Online Gambling Regulation Back On EU Agenda

Green Paper On Online Gambling, Including Online Poker, Published But Some Criticism Remains

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European ParliamentThe European Union yesterday published a Green Paper on online gambling.

The document serves as a draft law and a basis for discussing the options for future regulation across EU markets.

In recent times countries such as France, Sweden, Italy, Austria, have either begun to open their market to online gambling, including online poker, or regulated and licensed online gambling, albeit in a fragmentary way.

While the document was broadly welcomed by the online gambling sector a number of concerns remain, particularly on the national vs. cross-border issues involved.

Sigrid Ligné, secretary general of the European Gaming and Betting Association, said, “We welcome the Commission coming forward with a Green Paper and a factual discussion on all aspects of online gambling. We are deeply concerned though that the focus of the paper seems to be on a national rather than an EU approach despite the clear cross-border nature of this sector.

Malcom Harbour, UK MEP and chairman of the European Parliament’s internal market and consumer protection committee, commented, "Online gambling is a cross-border issue and it needs a clear EU framework in order to fulfil its potential.



“At the moment there is a patchwork of licensing regimes or state monopolies across the EU and a lack of clear legislation is leaving important decisions to be made by the courts.”

The Financial Times reported that fewer the 15 percent of the near-15,000 online gaming websites in Europe are regulated.