September 21, 2009 (CAP Newswire) — Gibraltar news source Vox is speculating that the European Court of Justice’s recent ruling allowing European nations to limit the extent to which foreign online betting companies can operate across borders may create a new European online gambling black market.
The ruling concerned an alleged violation of Portuguese law by the Gibraltar operations of Bwin, which had signed a sponsorship deal with the Portuguese Football Federation that the state wanted to limit. In Europe's eight billion euro-per-year online gambling market, the ruling can prevent a serious incentive for some entities to offer online gambling operations illegally.
“There were fears that the ruling would allow European governments to use fraud prevention as an excuse to avoid opening markets to competition,” the article states. “The court said prohibitions on online operators such as Bwin — one of Europe's biggest internet bookmakers — could be justified by the need to combat fraud and crime, ‘provided the restrictions were fairly applied and proportionate’.”
"You have to have a license in a country to operate … For me it is the beginning of a new era in the Internet gaming sector," commented Friedrich Stickler, the head of the European Lotteries association of state gaming groups. Stickler added that there was now "room for legal action" against online bookmakers “registered in Gibraltar, Malta, the Channel Islands and certain Caribbean territories which he accused of dodging taxes.”