European Commission Flexing its Muscles

01/09/2012
By Pamela PattersonGoogle

A new resolution was recently legislated by the EU parliament that aims to strengthen the European Commission in enforcing the European online gaming standards on all member states of the European Union.  As a result, action is now being taken against Greece and Germany for violation of the free market standards.

 

According to the complaint filed against the German regulatory bodies, the German government is violating free market standards by withholding licensing to foreign operators.  European Commission standards mandate that every member state provide licensing to any operator that meets EC standards.  The German regulatory bodies have been providing licensing exclusively to local operators, thereby creating monopolies in the German provinces.  As a result of these violations, the EC could withdraw their authorization of German online casinos.  Though many German officials are making light of the issue, representatives of the European gambling community say that the European Commission is expected to enforce the European standards on Germany whether they like it or not. The implications for casino business and online casino business has yet to be seen.

 

Against Greece, complaints were filed by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) and by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) regarding standards violations. These standards are in place to ensure the best online casino practices. Like the situation in Germany, Greece is being charged with encouraging local monopolies in violation of EC regulations.  According to Greek regulations, licensing will only be provided to an operator that has permanent offices in Greece and performs its financial transactions via Greek banks.  Realistically, this prevents any non-Greek operator from acquiring licensing.  Furthermore, the Greek government-owned OPAP enjoys a complete tax exemption, which gives them an operational monopoly on the Greek market that no other operator can realistically compete with.  The RGA and EGBA are hoping that the EC will force the Greek government to open their market to real competition.

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