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European Commission Seeks Free Online Casino Market

Online gambling in Europe has a very bizarre pattern. While domestic firms are allowed to flourish within their country, governments prohibit the operation of international gambling groups. For example, under the French online gambling legislation, foreign online casino sites are unable to offer services for the country’s citizens. Now, the European Commission is demanding answers and wants France to modify its restrictive laws by October 29th 2007. France is now alone and there are other countries in Europe with similar laws, Sweden for instance.

According to the European Treaty there should be a free market in the service sector within the European Union. However, France’s actions are breeching Article 49 which deals with exactly this. The French government only permits two local online casino firms to offer their services. Such conduct contradicts the very notion of a free market. The deadline by the European Commission is the second one France is getting. Initially, France was asked to allow all internet providers in the country to post a special message telling users they are entering a site that was not permitted in France. The first deadline expired at the end of August 2007.

France’s laws did not allow internet service providers from letting users know that the sites are illegal. As we said, things are very bizarre in Europe’s online gambling market. While the United States has banned the online casino industry completely, European governments have realized that online gambling can be very beneficial to the local economy and they are trying to find ways to exploit that potential. Opening the online gambling market in Europe and making it a free market, as the European Treaty states, would seriously improve Europe’s stand in global market and make it one of the most influential players in the world of online gambling. Governments like the French one are forgetting that there are other places in the world who are about to become online gambling paradises.

OCA News Editor

Jenny McKinnley is OCA’s financial correspondent. After spending years on the trading floor in both NY and London, she offers insight from the inside out on world financial news and events.

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