EGBA loses out in EU cross-border betting case

13 March 2018

The European Union Ombudsman Office has ruled against the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) over a case related to cross-border betting.

In December 2016, the EGBA filed a complaint opposing the European Union (EU) over its deliberate dropping of cases that involved offering cross-border online gambling services in the EU.

The EGBA accused the EU of not adhering to its own cross-border codes, citing a number of cases where the EU had failed to intervene or force compliance by its, referring to Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

However, the complaint also ran into another case last year where the EU moved to halt attempts to enforce Article 56 in the face of opposition from most of its member states.

These countries have sought to block cross-border services to help protect state-run lottery, casino, and other gambling operations, according to

In a statement outlining its ruling, the Ombudsman’s Office said: “In the course of the inquiry, the Commission decided to close all the infringement complaints.

“The Ombudsman noted that the Commission has wide discretion on whether and how to pursue infringement cases and that the decision taken fell within the boundaries of that discretion.

“The Ombudsman inspected the Commission’s files concerning the several Member States in order to evaluate the Commission’s procedural handling of the infringement complaints in the light of the relevant rules and principles.

“On the basis of the inspection, she found that the Commission had not committed maladministration.

“Therefore, the Ombudsman closed the case.”

In response, EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said: “Infringements proceedings in this sector have become a complete mess since the Commission decided to wash its hands of its responsibility to ensure online gambling regulation in the Member States is in line with EU law.

“While the Ombudsman’s decision is disappointing, it does confirm that the Commission’s decision to close these infringement cases was a political one.

“If the Commission is not taking seriously its responsibility to uphold EU law and ensure Member States, like Hungary, comply with EU Court of Justice rulings, then who will?”

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