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European Online Gambling Updates

March 16, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – A variety of online gambling stories are playing out in Europe, as various EU nations struggle not only with how to regulate online casinos and Internet poker within their borders, but also how to ensure that those regulations don’t get them into trouble with the EU’s free-trade-across-borders policies.

First, the bad news: The influential EU advocate general, Paolo Mengozzi, has officially released judgments that work against the online gambling industry’s desire to let companies operate freely across borders, according to Courthouse News Service. Mengozzi has stated that EU member states do not have to allow outside gambling firms into their markets just because they’re licensed in another EU state. If other courts take this ruling as precedent, this could hurt the EU’s intra-continental brands based in Gibraltar and Malta, and it could help support current worrying trends in some nations to forbid outside online gambling brands. It could also hurt European online gambling affiliate marketers who use such brands as bwin in multiple European markets.

Now, the good news, which may offset the above ruling: In Austria, A German citizen managing two Austrian online casinos was found guilty of “unlawfully organizing games of chance” under Austrian Law, Poker News Daily reports. However, the case was appealed, during which time the European Court of Justice ruled that Austria was unfairly submitting operators in other countries to its own laws. That goes against the above story, and it’s a good sign for international online gambling brands that have recently been struggling with increasingly closed markets in places such as France and Denmark.

Better news, from Poland: A recent initiative by the Polish government to censor Internet gambling websites has been abandoned after an enormous public outcry made primarily through social networks such as Facebook, according to this report in the Wall Street Journal.

And, lastly, the best news: In Norway, a player has hit one of the biggest jackpots in European online gambling history, estimated to be €4.8 million at the Malta-based website Betsson. Read about it here. This could be a helpful sign to the Norwegian government that their new anti-online gambling stance helps neither the people, nor the economy.