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October 25, 2014

Betfair Online Gambling Group Files Complaints to European Commission

CASINO GAME RULES - logoThe UK online gambling group Betfair, has filed a complaint with the European Commission. The complaint deals with the German draft proposal that it reforms their gambling laws. It termed the proposal as ‘discriminatory and protectionist’. The complaint, filed last week was designed to convince Brussels to make the regional governments to expand the changes to the state monopoly on betting. In the complaint, it cited that the stated betting treaty, which German authorities are considering, will be unfair to them, as they will be forced to pay tax at 16.67% on all stakes. It also added that the law would limit the licenses given to betting companies to seven.

Betfair’s Chief legal and regulatory affairs officer, Martin Cruddace, stated that the draft contains disproportionate measures designed to keep the private online gambling service providers out. He also added that in case it comes to force, it will not motivate gamers to play with licensed and neither would the EU court be able to scrutinize it. 15 out of the 16 German states asked the European commission to approve the new betting rules following the ruling made by the European Court of Justice that the old monopoly did not comply with the European Union laws on free access to markets.

The states argued that the proposal was meant to curb gambling addiction, and that they want to maintain the lucrative lottery monopoly. They also aim to start deregulation sport betting in an experimental phase of 5 years, starting in January. The internal market directorate of the commission has until the middle of the month to provide a response to the complaints, with the online betting providers such as Betfair and Bwin hoping for a call for changes in the draft. In its letter, Betfair stated that it would like to invite the commission to consider an initiation of infringement proceedings against Germany for breach of the European Union law, in case it fails to carry out the necessary changes in the draft.

Meanwhile Bwin, termed the proposal incoherent than the present rules, and anticipates criticism from the European Commission as a result of Germany’s failure to comply with the law. The speculation in the market is that the uncertainty over the regulation not only in Germany but also in other European Markets is one of the main reasons why the share price of Betfair has halved since its listing and why other private online gambling providers are also suffering.

The leaders of the 16 states delayed a decision on the rules of the draft until October. This is according to the Prime minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Kurt Beck. The preliminary agreement on the rules by the state premiers was reached on in April. While the speculations on the matter are rife, the internal market commissioner of the EU has not made any official statement. The commission is still examining the current laws on online betting in all states of the European Union. The hope is that the European Commission will harmonize the regulatory foundation for all member nations of the EU.


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