In recent months more and more European countries have begun working on legislation for the legalization and regulation of online casinos and gambling sites. However, all online casino legislation must be approved by the European Union and they are not making it easy. The European Union is taking the job of making online casinos in Europe safe and secure for online gamblers and, as a result, many European nations are having a hard time having their legislation sanctioned. France is one country that has been working hard in recent months to get approval from the EU.
The European Union told France that there were issues with their online casino legislation and last week France announced that they are addressing these issues. One of the primary issues that the European Union had with France’s original legislation was that it required online casino operators, even offshore ones, to have a physical base located in France. Such provisions, in the eyes of the European Union, give a competitive advantage to domestic online casinos based in France. The EU’s goal is to avoid monopolies in the online casino arena. In the new proposal France has dropped this requirement.
The issue of monopoly has been one of the main areas of contention in the online gambling industry in Europe. Many European countries are trying to protect their own domestic interests by monopolizing their online casino markets. This has been one of the primary issues with legislation proposed by a large portion of the countries turning to the EU for approval for online casino gaming laws. The EU is looking for laws and restraints that have the interest of the consumer in mind, rather than the interest of the country.
The European Union’s name says it all—they represent a uniting of all European countries. Therefore, they are leaning towards laws that open the doors for outside countries to operate casinos. For instance, Italian online casino operators should be allowed to offer casino games like online roulette, casino craps, slots, blackjack, video poker and other gambling games within France if they meet the requirements designed to safeguard the interests of French online gamblers.
European nations like France could lead the way for legislation in the United States. Though there are reputable online casinos that operate in the US, such as Rome Casino online, online gambling is still a subject of contention. There is legislation on the table for the regulation of online gambling, including New Jersey Senator Menendez’s online poker bill and House Representative Barney Frank’s online casino bill. France’s new rules may influence the future of online gambling in the United States as well as Europe.
French officials stressed that the new online casino rules will not go into effect immediately and until they do the current laws will be strictly enforced as always. However, they expect that the new regulations will go into effect as early as spring of 2010.
Recently there has been a lot of movement and change in and around the online casino and gambling industry in Europe. Many countries are stepping in with legislature to legalize and regulate online casino sites. However, the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA), which was founded in March of 2007 to create a uniform online gaming industry across Europe, has made it difficult for some countries looking to pass online gambling legislation. A few countries, France being one notable one, were shot down by the EGBA for drafting online gambling and casino legislation that was unacceptable due to discriminatory provisions. However, two European countries—Estonia and Denmark—this month released online gambling legislation that fits the terms the EGBA has set up.
The Estonia Gambling Act is set to go into action beginning in January of 2010. This act will allow online casinos located in the European Union that meet a number of requirements to function in Estonia. Online casinos wishing to expand to serve Estonian online casino gamblers will have to obtain a license from Estonia as well as pass a number of ordinary checks and balances including background checks on operator credentials. Online casinos wishing to function in Estonia must also provide evidence of partaking in responsible gaming (preventing underage gambling, etc.). Estonia will also continue to ban online casinos without a license. Internet providers will be notified of illegal sites and will block access to these sites by Estonians.
Denmark, which once faced criticism from the European Commission (EC), the predecessor to the EGBA, has now changed their legislation to be more “EGBA friendly”. Denmark was originally criticized for an online casino and gambling policy that was too protectionist, as it limited online gambling to the Danish monopoly Dansk Spil. However, Denmark has changed its policy, giving other online casino operators the opportunity to compete with Dansk Spil. While this new legislation has not yet been passed, it is expected to receive approval from the EGBA with ease.
The recent influx of new online gambling legislation around the world is undoubtedly due in part to the current worldwide recession. Around the globe, from the United States to Europe, governments are realizing that legalizing and regulating online casinos and gambling sites is a great way to increase tax flow to the government. Though many people have been cutting back on other expenses such as travel and leisure, online gambling seems to be less effected by the crisis. Gamblers all over the globe continue coming online to play their favorite casino games including slots, roulette, blackjack, video poker and more. Therefore, legislation around the globe is being introduced, levying taxes on online casino deposits.
As more countries introduce online gambling legislation to regulate online casinos that is approved by the EGBA in Europe, and by other governments around the world we can expect to see a big positive change in the way the online casino and gambling industry operates.