News from Online Gambling in Germany, Greece and other

29 March 2012 – By Jane Spiegel

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The European Union represents one of the most important markets for online casino operators from all over the world. Last year, the German state of Schleswig Holstein made a proposition to regulate and license internet gambling that was very much appreciated by online operators. Schleswig Holstein proposed a model with full private operators’ participation on a competitive basis. Despite the good news, legal experts say that actual licenses cannot be issued until the European Commission considers and approves the proposed monitoring arrangements, which could take a few months from now.

Besides that, elections are coming in May, and the present opposition SPD party is expected to come back in power. The SPD party is opposed to the regulation of online gambling and stated that they will take Schleswig Holstein back into the interstate German Treaty supported by the 15 other German states. Looks like online casino operators will have to wait and see what the final result on these propositions is.

In Greece, online gambling software companies GTech, Playtech and Intralot are competing to provide services for the state-owned gambling firm OPAP. The Greek company intends to offer online betting and wants to pick a vendor by the third quarter of this year. Analysts are skeptical on this move since the proposal is based on retaining the monopoly status of OPAP. The government from Athens has announced plans for legalization and licensing of online gambling but until now the European Commission did not announced any decision on that matter.

Recently, the president of ARJEL, the French online gambling regulatory authority, made an announcement that could exalt the online casino industry in Europe. According to the French press, he stated that ARJEL is looking to sign a memorandum of understanding with British regulator the UK Gambling Commission, Italian regulator AAMS and Spain’s National Gambling Commission. This kind of memorandum and such interaction is one of the things the European Commission would be keen to promote. Although the president of the French online regulator did not reveal the contents of the memorandum, this move can only bring in harmony in the fragmented and self-centered European regulatory regimes.

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