EC to resume investigations on Member States’ online gambling laws
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The RGA welcomes Commissioner Barnier´s announcement, which would be in line with the role of the Commission as Guardian of the Treaties.
Commissioner Barnier used the opportunity of the Parliament’s event to give MEPs, some national authorities and stakeholders an outline of the upcoming Commission’s Communication on online gambling in the Internal Market, which will include an action plan. He advocated EU action in the field of online gambling given the cross-border and even global nature of that activity and the difficulty for Member States to respond alone to the challenges that it poses.
The Communication will mainly seek to tackle consumer protection (including the prevention of underage and problem gambling), money laundering and fight against match-fixing. In order to attain those objectives, the Commission will encourage administrative cooperation between national authorities, in particular with a view to agree minimum common standards of consumer protection, will promote the development of an attractive offer in those jurisdictions that decide to open their market and will ensure respect of EU law.
On the latter point, Commissioner Barnier indicated that he would instruct his services to “contact all Member States concerned by ongoing cases or complaints in order to remind them of the applicable rules and suggest that any problematic situations are rectified in line with current case-law. If blatant infringements persist, I will not hesitate to propose to my colleagues that the appropriate proceedings be taken or relaunched”.
Since February 2008, the Commission has not taken any formal decision with regard to the internal market related infringements, apart from the closure of some of them. This inaction means that none of the eleven Member States that were the object of an infringement procedure in 2008 has been taken to the CJEU. Furthermore, the Commission has not proceeded so far with any of the internal market complaints lodged by the online gambling industry against other Member States’ gambling laws.
The RGA welcomes Commissioner Barnier´s announcement, which would be in line with the role of the Commission as Guardian of the Treaties. For the industry, his commitment is encouraging but concrete action will be needed if real change is to be brought about, especially when so many Member States remain non-compliant with EU law.
Clive Hawkswood, RGA Chief Executive, said: “We can only welcome any action on infringements, considering that many Member States seem to have assumed that EU law will never be enforced against them. However, we do not know yet the content of the Commission’s red lines and whether effective action will be taken against Member States who are found to be violating them. We very much hope that Commissioner Barnier’s announcement will lead to some meaningful results before the end of his term”.