Thursday July 7, 2011 : More trouble for Greek legalization in latest EC opinion
Greek proposals to regulate online gambling, already mired in controversy and reservations about compliance with EU law, suffered another setback this week when the European Commission responded to the latest draft.
The Commission issued a detailed opinion against the Greek draft law on online gambling on 7 July 2011, confirming that the Commission has strong concerns about the compatibility of the draft Greek legalization with EU law.
Commenting on the Commission’s opinion, the European Gambling and Betting Association trade association identified a number of provisions which are questionable under EU law, including:
*The requirement for EU licensed online gaming companies to be established in Greece
*The requirement to have a bank guarantee from a bank established in Greece
*Limiting the number of available licenses
*Opening the tendering procedure only to capital companies with a minimum paid-up capital
*Limiting financial transfers via local banks or local branches of international banks only
Sigrid Ligné, secretary general of EGBA, said: “We share the Commission’s assessment of the Greek draft regulation. The requirements in the current draft are highly questionable under EU law, and this begs the question as to how viable the future market will be for EU licensed operators”.
The reform of the Greek online gambling market, which comes amidst the Greek financial crisis, still contains a great deal of practical, technical and legal uncertainties. For instance, the current draft is still not clear about the types of games that may be offered by EU licensed operators.
EGBA has called on Greek lawmakers to clarify these points.
The Greek draft online gambling regulation was notified to the European Commission and Member States on 5 April 2011 and also received a detailed opinion from Malta.
Today’s detailed opinions extend the standstill period until 8 August 2011, during which Greece cannot adopt its draft regulation, and is required to reply to the Commission’s views. If it fails to take into account the Commission’s objections, the Commission could decide to launch infringement proceedings.