European Turf Wars Over Online Gaming Not Unlike Our Own

by Lou on March 24, 2007

The United States isn’t the only place in the world where protectionism’s greed raises its ugly little pointed head in turf wars over online gaming. In much of Europe, betting is still a state-controlled monopoly.

But European Union members may not preclude foreign EU firms from operating in their country as long as they allow domestic companies to operate gambling sites and lotteries, or allow the national government to run all gaming as a monopoly.

Germany was recently warned by the European Union of possible legal action if it bans online betting and internet-based lotteries. According to Guenter Verheugen, the European Union’s industry commissioner, German states have a month to rework their draft legislation.

The EU also criticized Denmark, Finland and Hungary for blocking foreign betting firms.

Germany, like the United States under the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act (UIGEA), has a carve-out in their laws for horse racing.

The European Union asked Germany to reconsider their ban on lottery and internet sports betting based on a challenge brought forth by the United Kingdom and Austria. UK firms such as Ladbrokes, Stanley Leisure and Unibet, would benefit from more liberalized gaming laws, as would Austria’s Betandwin.com.

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