Europe industry growing

onlineprime08

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Europe's online gambling industry has been growing and growing. And that many countries under them starts their own legislation and regulation of online gambling.

What are your thoughts abut it?
 

jetset

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There are many with concerns about what has been described as the 'balkanisation' of European online gambling (ie myriad nations each developing separate regulatory regimes) and there are calls for a more harmonised approach to regulation to avert unfair discrimination.

I think that's a good idea, and it will certainly make for a less complicated legal field if it can be achieved.

The European Commission starts its public consultation phase on internet gambling tomorrow (24th March) with the long-awaited publication of its Green Paper on Online Gambling, which is believed to punt the concept of harmonised regulation - a principle that has already found favour with various trade associations and other EU bodies (check out Casinomeister News for reports)

I think that regulation in principle makes for a safer player environment (if you can persuade players to stay away from rogues), but there are some serious downsides like national commercial protectionism, lower player liquidity, censorship of the internet through ISP blocks, government interference in financial transactions, overly onerous taxation and too much bureaucracy.

It would be nice to see a transparent and fair approach, but I'm thinking that as long as you have state gambling companies and ignorant politicians with blinkered national interests and protectionism front-of-mind, that's unlikely.
 

jstrike

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One'a the problems is that it's a lot cheaper to get "licensing" in places where "licensing" doesn't involve a lotta background checks, paperwork and money. The fact that some euro jurisdictions accept an easier license than others creates a permanent imbalance. The fact that some of them, for whatever reasons, haven't created actual hard rules about what's allowed and what isn't, makes it easy for rogues to enter the market and equally hard for legit casinos to figure out where they stand, and more importantly where they will stand in a year or two. Right now, Ireland has no law about online gambling. In theory, you could run a casino there. You can definitely take players there. But is it worth investing in that market if they're gonna pass a law six months from now that'll nationalize the market? Because that's basically what France and Italy and Norway have done or are doing; Hugo Chavez couldn't do a better job of sucking the profit out of private business.

There are two kinds of licensing jurisdictions; the ones that have a population they can claim they're doing a public service for by raping the casinos (and ultimately, the players) and the ones that are lucky to have the business, who don't give a damn what you do as a casino, long as you pay the bills on time.

Bottom line, Europe's a mess of corrupt and conflicting legislation, all of it against the spirit of the EC/EU/Brussels, and it's a massive impediment. The only reason you see so much growth and emphasis right now on the Continent is that the US and China are mostly unavailable as markets. The day the US opens up online gaming -- and it's a year or two now -- do you think anyone's going to care if Berlusconi passed some law so his 'ndrangheta buddies can get greased 20% on every poker hand in the country? Italy and France will just be freeze-outs until they drop the legislation. And when the Chinese commies realize they've been missing a great way to drug their population with gambling and turn a profit at the same time, forget it. It's gonna make the US look like the last stop out of Winnemucca.

The big gorillas haven't talked yet. Hang on a year or two. Meanwhile, the floor is cleared and everyone starts over. For my money, the two biggest online gambling firms in 2025 will be a Harrah's/Bally/Wynn/Virgin conglomerate, and the Chinese Communist Party. If anyone around here wants to take a parlay on that...lemme know.
 
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jetset

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Well, the Green Paper is out (see below) and as feared it's lack of enforcement content suggests that the new EC Commissioner, Michel Barnier, has little stomach for enforcement of the 'free passage of goods and services between member states' principle of the EU, through which many operators have sought to offer their services in EU countries.

It appears that instead he is trying for a more diplomatic approach and a harmonisation of European regulatory requirements across the 27 member nations - that should be interesting to observe as this consultative process unfolds.

So far it appears that the major operator trade associations are less than enthusiastic about developments.

The good news is that Betfair has just won a key case in this area against the Dutch (although that may have been overtaken by events following the new Dutch government's about-turn on banning.)

For information, European Commission green paper available on this link.

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onlineprime08

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Bottom line, Europe's a mess of corrupt and conflicting legislation, all of it against the spirit of the EC/EU/Brussels, and it's a massive impediment.

Ei jstrike, how could you prove this more? I am interested about this and how can you say this thing. I am not disagreeing with you. But you know, its kinda very interesting to hear thoughts about it. The corruption thing, etc.

And about the EU's free trade. As I know, they don't want monopoly and what they want is for their member nations to participate in free trade. Do you think they are just doing this for the sake of extending the online gambling market and to have a great share on it?

Let me hear more thoughts about you guys.

BTW, thanks for the replies.
 

jstrike

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All I'm saying is that when the French tried to put discriminatory import regulations on cheese from other EC members, the court slapped them down...but when they banned online casinos in the UK from operating without a separate license and a separate .fr web address, it was heralded as a great advance and a model for regulating the industry.

When it comes to online gaming, the EC has turned a blind eye, because everyone realizes it's going to be more profitable to have 27 fiefdoms than a common market in this case. Because in a common market, all the casinos will relocate to the cheapest tax and licensing jurisdiction of the day (IM, Malta, Cyprus) and there will have to be competition between countries to create a cheaper one. Portugal goes bankrupt, what's to stop them from undercutting the costs in Malta to attract the business? And then why should they get all the tax revenue from players in France? That would be competition. It would be better for players, better for casinos, and a loss for most EU governments.

Dividing it up, letting each country write its own laws and closing the borders to online gaming means each country gets a cut proportional to its population. It's a violation of Article 28, but who cares? No one in Brussels; is there another way to interpret that besides a series of kickbacks and corruption going all the way up?
 
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