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German Gambling Law Provokes EU Complaint

EGBA Against German Gambling Regime; Outlines Expectations For Commission's Online Gambling Plan

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The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has announced today that it is lodging a formal complaint with the European Commission against the new German gambling regime.

The EGBA stated that it has found the new German gambling regime to be incompatible with the EU treaty.

The Commission has been critical of the new German law in the past but gave Germany two years to test the new rules before it again intervenes.

On this subject, Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of EGBA, said, “We urge the European Commission to handle our complaint urgently as Germany is in the process of allocating licenses on the basis of a highly contentious tendering procedure which appears, on the basis of a cumulation of evidence, not to be designed to pursue the declared purpose of conducting an open, fair and transparent Europe-wide call for bids.”

The EGBA also, today, outlined its expectations for the European Commission’s Communication and Action Plan on online gambling, scheduled for later this month. Ahead of the Commission’s online gambling plan, the EGBA has asked three questions:

  • Will the current fragmentation of the EU online gambling market continue?
  • Will consumers therefore continue to suffer different levels of protection throughout the EU?
  • Will some consumers, and in particular children and the vulnerable, continue to suffer no protection at all, where a Member State closes the door to EU-regulated operators, thus encouraging consumers to look for non-regulated websites?

The EGBA wishes to have European Union sector-specific legislation and hopes that, in its action plan, the Commission will focus on building common consumer protection standards, common technical standards and reporting tools, and common licensing requirements.

Ligné said, “We deplore the situation today where we see 27 ‘mini-markets’ for gambling in Europe. We are calling for the introduction of European rules to ensure proper protection for consumers and maintain a crime-free environment throughout the EU, while affording open, fair and transparent licensing conditions for EU-regulated operators.”

In June this year, EU Internal Market Commissioner Michel Barnier said the Commission would ensure national regimes conform with the Treaty, and that it would take steps against Member States whose gambling regulation violates EU law.

The EGBA reported today that the situation has gotten worse with nine infringement procedures suspended and many more new complaints lodged.