MEPs favour strong state control
By Tanguy Verhoosel | Thursday 30 June 2011
The growth of the cross-border online gambling sector is a matter of concern for the European Parliament, which says memberstates are justified in limiting the services provided on their territory.
On 10 March 2009, MEPs adopted a resolution on the “integrity of online gambling,” which underlines that their proliferation “increases the risk of illegal practisces”.
The resolution was adopted in the wake of an own-initiative report by the Danish Social Democrat Christel Schaldemose. However, the result of the vote – 544 in favour, 36 against and 66 abstentions – is misleading: significant national differences surfaced in Strasbourg, which resulted in the official publication of a ‘minority opinion’ from 11 MEPs, who say the report twists the reality and reinforces certain prejudices.
This opinion reflects that of operators; private sector representatives have criticised the report and the resolution. On the other hand, they have been welcomed by the public sector.
The Parliament texts underline that, according to the principles of subsidiarity and the case law of the EU Court of Justice, the state of residence of players “should regulate and control their gambling market […] in order to protect consumers from addiction, fraud, money-laundering and the rigging of sporting competitions”. The growth of the online gambling sector, which MEPs believe increases all these risks, requires stronger cooperation between member states, Europol and the EU institutions, the parliamentary resolution states. However, the resolution is vague on the precise objectives to be attained at the Community level.
Significant national differences surfaced in Strasbourg