Betting industry pushes for EU action against Germany

Europe’s betting industry is at odds with Germany and has made a formal complaint against the country to the European Commission over a ban on online gambling.

The ban, introduced on 1 January, prohibits all forms of online betting and gaming in Germany and the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) believe it contravenes European Union (EU) law.

However, Germany is claiming that they are using the ban to protect consumers and keep a lid on gambling addiction. A view that does not wash with many critics who believe Germany are just trying to protect their state-run lotteries.

"The official claim is consumer protection and we feel that claim is unjustified,” said EGBA secretary general Sigrid Ligne.

"Why focus on internet gambling when traditional land-based offline gambling is being promoted in Germany?"

The European Commission maintains it will not prevent member states from protecting consumers as long as their policies and laws are across the board and not applicable to one or a few forms of gambling.

"You have to have the same rules for everybody and not a situation where different operators are treated in a different way," said Oliver Drewes, spokesman for the commission.

However, Germany is not alone in falling foul to the EU with regards to its gambling laws; 10 more member states, including Sweden, Denmark and Hungary, are under the threat of legal action.

Should member states ignore any warnings given by the commission, they could be taken to the European Court of Justice which has the authority to enforce countries to change their laws.

Editor, - 2008-01-16 10:59:02

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