European Commission Releases Green Paper on Internet Gaming
By Ian Hiaring, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
This week the European Commission (EC) released its green paper on the online gambling industry. Intended to stimulate debate, and not suggest policy changes, it’s already ruffled a few feathers across the continent.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) quickly released a press statement and expressed concern with the continuing fragmentation of the European online gaming market.
Countries across Europe have enacted their own legislation regarding online gaming. Already the U.K., France, Italy, and others have their own interpretation of online gaming laws, and the EGBA is making a push for a more uniform set of regulations that would ensure fair, safe, and uniform game play for all players across Europe.
In the press release, the EGBA says; “The EGBA welcomes today’s publication of the Green Paper on online gambling that will allow for a factual discussion at EU level. At the same time, the EGBA expresses its concern with the apparent lack of commitment to curb further fragmentation of the common market and ensure that consumers throughout the EU enjoy consistent standards of regulated, safe and high-quality products.”
Nick Johnson, a UK lawyer, echoes this sentiment in his blog on the eGaming Review website, stating that, “Now clearly an evidence-based approach to policy and legislation in this area will be seen by many as a step in the right direction. But some of the EC’s rhetoric around this consultation, and the balance and weighting of their questions, suggests there’s little appetite at this stage for any big steps towards greater harmonization of online gambling regulation.”
Johnson goes on to suggest a bright spot in the green paper. “Dig deeper though, and perhaps there is some good news here – albeit no quick fix – for those opposed to local state monopolies, who want to see a level playing-field across Europe. Ultimately, if the EC wants to take steps towards a more harmonized position, it will need to counter the arguments that local monopolies are necessary and justified in order to minimize gambling-related problems.”
It will be interesting to see what steps are taken once the green paper is digested by all involved parties, and whether or not it will have any effect on the existing policies of some of the major players in the game.