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Gambling Chiefs Call For Action On Belgium

Dozen Companies Sign Letter To Financial Times Demanding Action

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Online gambling chief executives are fighting back after last week’s episode in Belgium which saw the Belgian Government demand to interview bwin.party co-chief executive Norbert Teufelberger after he spoke at a conference in the country.

Chief executives and managing directors from 12 high-profile gaming operators – Victor Chandler International, BetClic Everest, bet365, Winamax, Gamesys, Stan James, 888, Sportingbet, Betsson, William Hill and 32Red – today had a joint letter published in London’s Financial Times calling on the European Commission to force Belgium to comply with EU law.

The letter said, “The events that took place last Tuesday in Brussels, a stone’s throw from the European parliament and the office of Michel Barnier, European commissioner for internal market and services, are a stark reminder of the legal uncertainty that prevails in the European online gaming market.”

It went on to describe how the situation in Belgium had remained unresolved since the Commission issued its detailed opinion in 2009 and a direct complaint lodged against the country in 2010.

At the time Commissioner Barnier said, “if blatant infringements persist, I will not hesitate to propose to my colleagues that the appropriate proceedings be taken or relaunched”.

However nothing has happened and the gambling chiefs now accuse Belgium of intimidation.

They say, “We hope that the commission will now enforce compliance with the European treaty and do so swiftly. Countries such as Belgium and Greece that are in clear breach of EU law and that are seeking to enforce those laws domestically are likely to be at the top of the list.

“The time for polite rhetoric is now over. It is time for deeds not words.”

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