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Regulation of Online Gaming to be "Harmonized" in the EU?

By Joss Wood, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer

European ParliamentOn November 14th, the European Parliament will vote on a proposal that provides a single set of gaming regulations for all member countries of the European Union. The motion has been put forward by Jürgen Creutzmann, the German Liberal MEP.

The Report

Creutzmann is the European Parliament’s rapporteur for online gaming. The rapporteur is responsible for preparing reports on specialist subjects. His report, “Future of Online Gambling in the EU” is very much a compromise. In presenting the report, he explained the difficulty in devising EU wide regulations.

"On the one hand, you have the defenders of the free market who would like to liberalise online gambling completely. On the other hand, you have the defenders of state monopolies who think that this is the only way to protect consumers and combat organised crime."

Although in favour of common regulations for all EU countries, Creutzmann said that it has been proven that regulation does not work. Therefore, he calls for minimum harmonization covering online gambling.

Difficulty Ahead

One British government minister agreeing with Creutzmann as to the source of the difficulty clearly laid out his opposition to harmonization. John Penrose, UK Minister for Tourism and Heritage, said:

“These differences have deep roots and spring from fundamentally different religious traditions and managing the always fuzzy dividing line between things which are harmless and enjoyable for the majority of the population but potentially seriously harmful for a small minority.”

The EU Parliament does not have the power to make laws for the EU. If there is an overwhelming vote in favour of the proposed regulation, then the European Commission is likely to look into the issue and may start the work necessary to enact regulations which will be enforceable in every member state.

Philip Graf, Chairman of the British Gambling Commission, said that it was unlikely “that we’ll ever see a mutual recognized gaming license across the EU but that the EC will likely play a role in facilitating cooperation between member states.”

The Bottom Line

  • The Euroracy wants to get its sticky fingers into the rich pickings available from their citizens who enjoy gambling.
  • The Parliament will probably vote in favour of an EU wide tax and license regime.
  • Nothing will happen for at least two years, because this is the slowest of slow bureaucratic processes.
  • Regardless, the way the Euro crisis is going there may well be no EU in two years!

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