APRIL FOOLS DAY LAUNCH FOR DANISH LEGISLATION?
Despite the attentions of the EC, are the Danes gearing up for an UIGEA-style anti-online gambling law?
The Danish government may be preparing legislation against online gambling that includes a UIGEA-style provision to hamper financial transfers, report several news media covering the region, including EIN.
If the as yet unconfirmed reports that moves could take place as early as next (April) month are true, the Danes will be flying in the face of the European Commission which has had the country's monopolistic gambling policies under the microscope for the past few years and has already issued a "reasoned opinion" against the Scandinavian nation.
Specifically, this reasoned opinion was that the EC considers the Danish Pools and Lottery Act incompatible with existing EU-ruling (especially Article 49 of the EC Treaty). Furthermore, the Commission concludes that the measures taken by Denmark to restrict the free movement of sports betting services have not proved to be necessary or proportionate. The Commission in its reasoned opinion warned the Danish State: 'If there is no satisfactory reply within two months, the Commission may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice'.
Earlier this year there were reports that a previous legislative attack on the industry (see previous InfoPowa report) had been stopped short of a vote in the Danish Senate. The European Gaming and Betting Association had previously urged the European Commission to take the Danes to the European Court of Justice over their protectionist policies.
Currently, under the Danish Pools and Lottery Act (tips- og lottoloven), only Danske Spil can lawfully offer games, lotteries and bets covered by the Act. Furthermore, no one except Danske Spil may arrange for participation in such games offered by anyone other than the state dominated Danske Spil.
EGBA members include such notable online poker parents such as Party Gaming (Party Poker), Bwin (bwin Poker), Unibet (Unibet Poker), bet-at-home.com, Expekt (Expekt Poker), and Interwetten Gaming (Interwetten Poker).
In a recent newsletter, EGBA stated: "We believe that any anti-online gambling legislation which is proposed or upheld by individual member states is likely to be breaking EU law. The EGBA is fighting against this discriminatory legislation as we believe that it is being introduced primarily to protect state-run monopolies.
"Opening up markets to competition gives consumers the benefits of lower prices and a wider choice of products and suppliers. A competitive environment, especially in the online world where technology reigns and trust in a brand is paramount, also helps promote consumer security and game fairness."