Countries in the European Union that would like an improved and more cohesive internet gambling regulation need to make up their minds. That is because the current European Commission's Green Paper is due to close at the end of the month.
While online gambling is growing steadily ( €6 billion in revenue for 2008), many industry observers have seen the lack of cooperation between member countries causes a raise in costs, and contributes to online gambling fraud which increases costs to EU countries. There are also obstacles for companies to operate in individual countries such as exorbitantly priced licenses, which makes it impractical for companies to do business in certain countries. Practices like these could lead to players placing wagers with unregulated casino operators and losing money from a dishonest operator.
Antion Costanzo, Director of Sport Integrity and Regulation recently was quoted as saying: "We don’t want our customers to go to unregulated markets in China, for example. We want to keep people in regulated and legal markets.”
The Euopean Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has stated that a shared policy among EU nations would ultimately save money due to consolidating the fees and taxes from the currently fragmented markets.
Speaking at the European Gambling Policy Conference in Brussels, Belgium last week, European Union politician Jürgen Creutzmann stated that EU-wide regulation is the only solution to the fragmented market. “The market is distorted at the moment and the current regulation doesn’t work,” said Creutzmann
Despite the words of many industry insiders voicing their opinion in favor of regulation, MEP Christel Schaldemose stated reasons as to why countries would want to maintain the current state of fragmented regulation saying, "Many Member States do not want the EU to regulate in this area because they want to keep the money where it is," and "Some Member States don’t want large gambling markets because of religious reasons,”.
The Green Paper is the first step in forming a law in the European Union. It is meant to begin debate about the topic at hand, and allow various individuals and organizations the ability to voice opinions for and against the idea. The Green Paper may lead to a White Paper, which spells out the steps needed to solve a particular problem.