Belgium Vote Conflicts with E.U.Treaty Agreement

Published Monday, December 07, 2009 -

The European Gaming and Betting Association is the industry body representing the leading online gaming and betting operators established, licensed and regulated within the European Union. EGBA promotes the implementation of a fair, competitive and regulated market for online gaming operators throughout Europe in line with EU law. The EGBA believes that this regulated market should be based on genuine public order and consumer protection concerns and be adapted to the cross-border nature of the online market. A successful regulated market would be based on effective European and international collaboration and cooperation. EGBA is comprised of Europe’s top online gaming and betting operators, some of which are listed on the stock exchanges of London, Vienna and Stockholm.

The goals of the organization are definitely in jeopardy in Belgium as that country has decided to ignore recommendations from the European Commission and approve in principle

The Secretary General of EGBA, Sigrid Ligne, issued a statement, commenting on Belgium's disregard for E.U. treaty laws, “It is baffling that Belgium does not take into account the opinion of the European Commission that crucial elements of the law are in conflict with EC law requirements. And even more so with a view to the upcoming Belgian presidency of the EU; how can Belgium show leadership in the EU, if it blatantly chooses to ignore the EC Treaty?”

A majority in the Belgian Parliament voted in favour of the law, even though objections were raised by some elected officials who brought to point the E.C. concerns delivered by the E.C. in a Detailed Opinion.

Ligne went on to comment, "The law is not only highly questionable from a legal point of view," adding, "In the digital age, limiting the provision of online services only to those exploiting a betting shop or casino in Belgium doesn’t fit with reality. A high level of consumer protection can be achieved by specific and targeted legislation, not by protecting the operators with a vested interest in the current situation."

The new European Commissioner for internal markets, Michel Barnier, from France may have a difficult challenge ahead as he takes on the position from diligent predecessor, Charlie McCreevy. Legal action could be brought against the Belgium State by the E.C. when the law comes into effect.

a new gaming and betting law in Belgium.

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