European Commission Controversy | No regulation restrictions

8 Dec 2017

european commissionThe Remote Gaming Association and a number of noteworthy operators have slammed the European Commission after its latest controversial decision. The EC publicly confirmed on Thursday (7/12/2017) that member states are now free to regulate their local iGaming markets without fearing any legal repercussions. The quote specifically states that "the EC political commitment is focused on enforcing EU law” meaning that “it is not a priority for the Commission to use its infringement powers to promote an EU Single Market in the area of online gambling services.” Additionally, they claim that the EC has "already issued numerous rulings regarding EU-licensed online gambling operators regarding their rights to access customers in other EU member states. As such, the EC has faith that gambling complaints can be handled more efficiently by national courts on the basis of these earlier judgments."

This is not the first time that the European Commission has been criticized as many member states have shown clear signs of in-state protectionism in the past, without the EU stepping in to make them heed to EU commercial law. Such instances include France, where the Autorité de régulation des jeux en ligne is clearly promoting the state run Française des Jeux by limiting access to foreign operators and Germany, that has repeatedly been remarked as a"lawless iGaming market".

The consequences of EC's public statement can not yet be clearly estimated, especially considering the fact that they recently ruled against a member state in the case of Unibet vs Hungary. Most likely, this could mean that certain Eastern European regulators will try to further limit the impact of foreign operators in local markets in order to promote state-run betting shops & sites. Furthermore, Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands, might now be tempted to further push back their promised iGaming legislation amendments and reforms.

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