BUSINESS AS USUAL, SAYS NEW EUROPEAN COMMISSION
12 February 2010
European gambling companies welcome new
commissioner's first comments
Fears that the new head of the European Commission,
Michel Barnier (see previous InfoPowa reports), may take
a lighter approach to maintaining the free passage of
goods and services between member nations were assuaged
this week when the new Internal Market Commissioner
addressed the European Parliament.
Gaming and Betting Association, a trade body that
represents the views of most of Europe's leading online
gambling companies, welcomed Barnier's commitment to
address the situation of gaming and betting at EU level.
Speaking to members of the European Parliament,
Barnier confirmed that the analysis of the Commission
Legal Service regarding the most recent European Court
of Justice ruling (Santa Casa, C-42/09) does not change
fundamentally the Commissions approach towards
The Commissioner said
that the Santa Casa ruling of 8 September 2009 was based
on considerations specific to Portugal and to its
national monopoly operator. The Commission will
therefore continue to examine the compliance of national
legislation with EU law on a case-by-case basis.
Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of the EGBA, said: With
several Member States currently reforming their gaming
and betting legislation, this is an important
confirmation that the Commission will not stand by while
Member States introduce restrictions that go against
fundamental principles of the EU.
We believe that
the respect of Internal Market rules in our sector will
promote high standards and improve the protection of
players throughout the EU.
EGBA has also
expressed its strong support for the Commissioners plan
to engage in a broad consultation with stakeholders and
to work on a political document, based on reliable
figures and a clear diagnosis of the situation in
The Commissioner raised the prospect of
a Green Paper on gambling, a move which EGBA believes
could offer a real opportunity to test the interest and
support of the European Parliament and Member States for
future EU harmonisation in the sector.
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