The European Union (EU) Parliament Event held on 27 June 2012 in Brussels; saw Michel Barnier Member of the European Commission responsible for Internal Market and Services Online Betting and Gambling in Europe speaking about "How to Regulate Betting and Gambling in Europe – Track record and future perspectives"
Michel Barnier’s speech mentioned that a common European base of principles and measures of protection for players should be in place and enforced by the commission with action to be taken against Member States who violate EU gambling regulation by reopening pending infringements and reopening complaints that have already been closed to those member states that violate the law, the EU Commission is set to propose several European policy initiatives regarding gambling in September.
The speech seems to outline a draft template for future gambling law that will be enforced by the EU commission that member states will be obliged to uphold, which would go a long way in combating any protectionist member states that could be opposed to regulation or protecting their own interests.
Main Elements of EU Gambling Law
The major points highlighted by Michel Barnier’s speech covered a wide range of elements that needed to be addressed prior to the introduction of EU Gambling Law:
- Protecting consumers and citizens
- Setting up basic guarantees applicable throughout the whole Europe
- Protecting minors
- Responsible advertising
- Preventing and curing addiction
- Preventing fraud
-Application of the Money-Laundering Directive to betting and gambling and to the need to guarantee a - Level playing field for all regulated operators in the EU (online or off-line).
- Integrity of sport
- Online gambling operators and sports federations to prevent match fixing.
- Involve Member States and develop administrative cooperation
- Encourage the development of an attractive range of legal gambling opportunities
- Offer sufficiently attractive products for them to be a credible alternative to the illicit sites, otherwise consumers will continue to turn to illicit and unregulated providers.
- European rules to be respected
With Spain, Italy, France, Denmark and Belgium recently having introduced their own gaming law, one wonders just how much power the EU commission will hold over existing member state gambling laws and whether taxation will be fixed at a rate region wide or left up to the local member state to determine.
The major positive to poker players based in Europe is that the EU have identified the need for regulation in the region with a strong plan for player protection and regulation. Member states like Germany who are opposed to allowing online gambling including poker will be forced into submission by the EU.