Online gaming operators seem to converge towards one conclusion: EU regulations would prevent the fragmentation of the internal market in this sector. The European Parliament's Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) held a hearing, on 15 June, on online gambling that drew a large public. "This is an issue that has concerned Parliament for a long time," explained IMCO Chair Malcolm Harbour (ECR, UK). "The Schaldemosede report, in March 2009, contributed to the European Commission's awareness, which led to the launch of the green paper on this question(1)."
Jurgen Creutzmann (ALDE, Germany), who is drafting a new own-initiative report, intends to draw on the input from this hearing and to take account of opening of this market in certain states and of recent EU Court of Justice case law clarifying rules in this area. The key question is to respect the subsidiarity principle, which gives member states the choice of whether to open the online gaming market on their territory or not while determining areas where cooperation at European level would make sense, particularly in relation to protecting players or fighting crime. He announced that his report would be presented to IMCO, by 12 July, and put to the vote, on 19-20 September, and later in plenary.
All the political groups appointed shadow rapporteurs: Cornelius De Jong (EUL, Netherlands), Ashley Fox (ECR, UK), Heide Ruhle (Greens-EFA, Germany), Damien Abad (EPP, France) and Christel Schaldemose (S&D, Denmark).
SUBSIDIARITY AND ADDICTION
Laurie Corpy of Gambling Compliance, a company that provides analysis of gambling markets, began by describing the contrasts in the sector from one country to the next in terms of types of games authorised. He also highlighted the scarcity of data on this market. Philippe Vlaeminck, a lawyer, then outlined Court of Justice case law and urged the EP to adopt rules based on a dual approach: the EU level focused on the fight against fraud and addiction, and the national level focused on organisation of the market.
Jean-Francois Vilotte, head of the French gambling regulator, presented a positive assessment of the opening of the French market since...