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EU Online Gaming Court Decision's Effects on Malta

September 11, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — So now that an EU court has ruled that it’s essentially legal for countries to block online gaming companies from operating within their borders, what are the effects on the global online gaming industry?

According to writer Ivan Camilleri, the ruling is a big “setback to [the] gaming industry”.  

“Malta's lucrative internet gaming industry suffered a major blow yesterday after Europe's top court ruled that EU member states could ban gambling websites,” Camilleri writes.

“Online internet companies across the EU have been fighting member states such as France, The Netherlands and Germany that insist on protecting their state monopolies to eliminate rising competition from online betting companies registered in other EU member states.

“Yesterday's judgment, which can be interpreted as favouring state monopolies, sets back the hope of online companies of ensuring a free competitive services sector in the EU.”

The writer is referring to the ruling earlier this week in which it was decided that Portugal could block Austrian-based bwin from advertising and doing business within its borders. Bwin had a contract with a Portuguese football team, and the state gambling monopoly was trying to block the large betting company from making any further inroads on its closely protected online gaming market.

This could even signify a reversal of the recent trend in which state governments like France are slowly opening up their state monopolies to foreign operators, usually because of pressure from EU committees. And if gaming companies were blocked from more and more countries, that could have a negative impact on Malta, where it’s estimated that as much as 10 per cent of the world's remote gaming companies operate.

To read the original article at the Times of Malta, please click here.