May 6, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Eastern European nations are just as varied in their regulations and restrictions to online gambling as Western European countries (and American states). These nations don’t tend to hit the headlines the way countries like France and the U.K. so, but most of them have growing online poker markets, and it’s worthwhile to pay attention to the kind of online gambling laws they pass.

In the Czech Republic, where the online betting industry is worth 29 billion in local currency annually, the larger European trend of forbidding outside operators from marketing to its citizens continues in grand fashion. A proposed amendment would ban “foreign online betting companies from advertising in the Czech Republic,” according to the Prague Post. And, interestingly, the article adds that “the ongoing debate reveals loopholes in European gambling law, experts say.”

This is big news to the major online gambling brands (those based in Gibraltar and Maltra, anyway), who would suffer a total ban on advertising to the Czech audience if the amendment passes.

“These foreign online betting companies have no license from the Finance Ministry, and they  pay no taxes in the Czech Republic, so we therefore support banning advertisement of foreign companies here,” commented Radek Ležatka, spokesman for the Finance Ministry, in to the article.

In addition, the Baltic state of Estonia has reportedly issued another license to a private company allowing the provision of online gambling services — apparently just the second such license to be granted by the nation.

“The successful applicant is Alands Penningautomatforening (PAF), which holds an online gambling monopoly in Finland’s semi-autonomous Aland Islands but has subsidiary firms on the Finnish mainland and in Sweden,” according to  

“Estonia has controversially excluded all operators from its internet gambling market save those who are licensed in Estonia. To date, the only other licence is held by Playtech-powered, which is owned by local land-based casino operator Olympic Entertainment Group.”

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