The European Commission has announced that it has initiating formal infringement proceedings against six European Union Member States for their failure to comply with EU law in regards to their internet gambling laws.
The states in violation of EU law are Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania. The notice of infringement was delivered through official letters which request information on each country's laws regarding the restriction of open market online betting throughout Europe.
Additional cases against France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the Netherlands are still pending an investigation. Sweden is also under fire for their stance on international online gambling, having failed to comply with EU requests in the past. The country now has eight weeks to comply, lest additional measures may be taken.
Commenting on the issue, European Gaming and Betting Association Secretary General Maarten Haijer said, “Today’s decision by the Commission is highly significant as it will bring further legal clarity to the online gambling market in the EU. We commend Commissioner Barnier and his services for their perseverance and commitment to making sure gambling regulation functions properly. EGBA urges Member States to use this opportunity to put in place effective, commercially viable gambling legislation which takes into account the CJEU requirements and to avoid the need for litigation at the Court of Justice.”
The Remote Gambling Association has taken a similar stance, as the group's CEO Clive Hawkswood said, “The announcement is a step in the right direction for an online gambling industry that has suffered for too long from legal uncertainty and unjustified market closures. Although we are fully aware that, under certain conditions, market restrictions can be deemed lawful and justified, we are entitled to the free provision of services and due regard must be given to those rights. We once again look to the Commission, as guardian of the Treaties, to enforce those provisions and we expect that those countries subject to a proceeding will introduce the required changes as soon as possible."