RGA questions European Commission for closing cases

7 December 2017

The Remote Gambling Association (RGA) has blasted the European Commission for closing all infringement cases against countries breaching EU law with their online gambling regimes.

The European Commission has opted to close all outstanding complaints against European Union Member States whose regimes regarding online gambling are not in line with EU law.

The RGA branded the decision as “highly questionable”, as it is based on and not on “any legal assessment of the merits of the cases”.

Countries that unfairly restrict or ban online gaming represents a blatant breach of EU law, according to the RGA, and the industry body said that is what led to the European Commission’s move to launch individual infringement proceedings against certain Member States.

In doing so, the RGA said the Commission acknowledged that the Member States involved “had at least a case to answer”, as they pertain to “serious cases of discrimination against online gambling companies that are legally based and licensed within the EU”.

The RGA went on to say the action of these Member States “severely undermine” the free provision of services, which is guaranteed under the EU Treaty, and the Commission is “ignoring the need for more enforcement effort” by dropping the cases.

RGA chief executive, Clive Hawkswood, said: “The existence of infringement proceedings and the Commission’s subsequent pressure on Member States to comply with EU law has helped with the introduction of many effective and sensible regulatory regimes for online gambling across Europe.

“However, many other cases have been left to languish for several years and many unlawful restrictions to the free provisions of services have yet to be addressed.

“In those circumstances we are of course dismayed that, with regard to the Internal Market, the Commission has effectively abandoned our sector and given a free pass to non-compliant regimes.

“However, we will continue to work with Member States with the aim of establishing EU-compliant regimes that would benefit European consumers, the online gambling industry, and national governments.”

Related article: Portuguese online gambling regulation ‘failing’, says RGA