Sports betting operator Stanleybet has joined in the demands for more action from the European Commission to ensure European trade principles are respected following news of the adoption of the European Parliament report on online gambling.
The European Parliament confirmed yesterday that it had adopted the report drawn up by Ashley Fox MEP and called on the European Union to take greater action to ensure trade principles are upheld and cross-border cooperation between regulators is increased. The decision was welcomed broadly by the Remote Gambling Association and the European Gaming and Betting Association trade bodies, although the RGA vented its frustration at the negative image in which the sector was conveyed, a criticism echoed by Stanleybet Chief Operating Officer John Whittaker.
“In the last few years the European Parliament seems to be coming some way in dismissing myths around gambling and adopting facts, but it remains unfortunate that gambling still appears to be one of the only areas where evidence-based policy making has no place,” Whittaker said.
“This is evident in certain assertions made in the report which convey the unfounded message that gambling is in general a necessary evil without considering it as a leisure activity, like millions of consumers in the EU do, besides a source of lawful employment for tens of thousands of European citizens and a very substantial source of tax revenue from which the exchequers of all member states benefit.
“Furthermore, we cannot but note that it is the European Commission that seems to be bending to the political will of member states by failing to enforce EU law. If this Commission until the end of its term continues to be afraid to rock the political boat then that will set a dangerous precedent for the EU overall.”
Whittaker went on to cite numerous cases of infringement proceedings against member states that have been “inexplicably frozen since 2008” in apparent violation of EU law. “In 2011… the European Parliament already called on the Commission to act, but those calls remained unanswered,” he added. “Now the European Parliament is sending the same message of the need for legal clarity. We hope this time these calls will not remain again unheeded by this Commission.”
Stanleybet has been campaigning for the liberalisation of betting regulation in Europe for some time and in 2010 challenged the Francaise des jeux land-based monopoly in France, but was not successful.