Europe united from gaming
What happens in Europe? A lot of people is asking for this question during last months. The economic and financial crisis has significantly shaken the European Union and it induced the main Countries that are part of it to challenge its role and, even, the reasons for its existence. But the operators of the “gambling” field – as this economic field is internationally identified – are wondering the same, now that the EU commission carried out the matter of the Community regulation (or, at least, of a concerted action) through the Green Paper wanted by Michel Barnier, the Commissioner for the Internal Market. Despite in a similar political context is clearly difficult to talk about any structural reform or only about a mere political action not linked to the present urgencies, the online gaming found the (first) answers, through the introduction by the European Parliament of the report of the German Deputy Jurgen Creutzmann that fixes the basic principles to develop the dialogue in the Commission.
This is a significan step forward with a widespread success. There is only one limit: the mono-referentiality, according to what Eduardo Antoja affirms, an international gaming expert and honorary president of the Euromat association, that represents the operators of the “terrestrial” gaming in Europe: “We obtained an encouraging result at the European parliament, where at least we are discussing the subject of the gaming and its regulation – he states – but at the same time I think that we are making a big mistake because we are only talking about the online gaming, to the point that during last months it seems that only this king of gaming exists that, on the contrary, it only represents 10% of the global market. So we are forgetting the needs of the “terrestrial” market although it represents 90% of the field and so it is the greatest bearer of revenues and employment. Not to mention, then, that in most Member States the physical gaming would need some interventions”. The Spanish man, now engaged in his land just for the regulation of the online gaming in his Country, he has clear ideas about what we would need in Europe: “I am sure that the big subject to face in Europe is the one of the international taxation, looking for uniformity. If first we don’t face this aspect, we can never find any solution for our field. And we can not even think to face the subject”.
If the industry, as mentioned, is not sure about the international discussion we are facing about the subject of the online gaming, the “political” vision about this subject is different. As Christel Schaldemose, Danish member of the European parliament, explains to Gioco News – the first one to bring the subject of gaming and of the consumer protection to the attention of the Parliament three years ago with its own resolution – the Green Paper and the Creutzmann report are very important documents:
“The report is the result of a broad compromise between the political groups and between different views on the online gambling sector, especially if we should have a directive on this issue or not. I think that it was a good result that the vote underlined, that a directive for the online gambling sector is not a priority compared to other political instruments”. A clear message has been sent to the Commission for the forthcoming work on the issue of online gambling that meets the expectations of the Danish: “I think it is important that the Commission is aware and working on the issues of consumer protection in regards to online gambling. I’m satisfied that the Commission has not focused on a online gambling directive as the sole solution for the issues on the sector”.
“The main focus is to make sure that the member states – in the future – will be able to regulate the online gambling sector themselves. Only by national regulation on online gambling, we can make sure that consumer protection is safeguarded”, says Schaldemose.
Although at the European level, we must see what the future of all concerned after the reversal of British Prime Minister Cameron and the United Kingdom: “I think it is too early to comment on the way the European Union is heading. We need to see how the discussions in the Council ends. But I am certain that a united Europe with as many countries as possible involved is the best solution”.