Thursday, November 10, 2011 : EU parliamentary session to consider key elements in European online gambling regulation
The painstaking and extensive report on European online gambling regulation prepared by German European Member of Parliament Jürgen Creutzmann will come under the parliamentary scrutiny of MEPs in Strasbourg next week.
During the plenary session, MEPs will be asked to vote on the report, which details recommended actions for a more coordinated approach to online gambling in the Union.
The Creutzmann report received strong support from the parliament's industry committee last month and among other elements includes an acknowledgement of the rights of national governments within the EU to regulate online gambling in line with their “traditions and cultures”.
The hope is that, given strong parliamentary support, the European Commission will be spurred into tackling the drafting of more harmonised EU legislative proposals governing the industry
The secretary general of the influential trade body the European Gaming and Betting Association, Sigrid Ligné, said this week that a move toward common standards was necessary to avoid the European online betting market remaining mired and fragmented in 27 national systems.
The Creutzmann report is critical of the European Commission, accusing it of failing to take national governments in the EU before the European Court of Justice for inconsistencies in national regulations regarding online betting.
“The Commission's inactivity continues to embed illegal behaviour,” said Ligné in support, urging the Commission to ensure that national gambling regimes complied with European Union laws, and respect European Court of Justice judgments against member states with national systems that discriminate against online betting providers.
“The Commission needs to act as the guardian of the treaty,” she said.
The outcome of next week's Strasbourg deliberations will inevitably influence the thinking of European Commission chief Michel Barnier, who is scheduled to present his suggestions on improving the regulation of online gambling in early 2012 following a lengthy and wide-ranging consultative process undertaken this year.