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European Online Gambling Industry Suffers Setback


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Despite years of effort by the European Commission (EC) to ensure that EU
member states adhere to a single set of rules and regulations where online
gambling is concerned, Paolo Mengozzi, a senior advocate of the European Court
of Justice, has dropped a bombshell that could scupper those efforts.

According to reports, Mengozzi, whose opinion is highly respected by the EU
court, recently announced that it is his opinion that European countries should
not be obliged to allow foreign online gambling companies to operate in
their territories simply because they have been issued with licenses in other EU
states.

Mengozzi dropped the bombshell, which could have serious consequences to online
gambling firms seeking to be allowed to offer their services throughout Europe,
after carefully examining seven cases surrounding the compatibility of German
online gambling issues in connection with EU online gambling legislation.

The advocate general even went so far as to accuse the online gambling-friendly
jurisdictions of Malta and Gibraltar of having ‘distorted’ the mutual trust
between EU member states in relation to online gambling laws. Currently many of
the world’s leading online gambling firms are licensed by these two
jurisdictions.

While Mengozzi does not have the power to change laws, his opinion does hold
enough clout to sway the European Court. In addition, it is a well-known fact
that rarely has the Court gone against a senior advocate. The worst case
scenario is a Court ruling that every EU state may pass its own online gambling
laws.

And if this were to happen, the majority of countries in Europe would likely opt
to keep offshore online gambling firms out while encouraging the growth of
locally owned and operated firms. Being legalized and regulated, this would keep
all online gambling revenues, and therefore taxes, in the respective countries.

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