The European Commission is watching the online gambling laws in European Union countries and is using the results of its investigation to determine whether new European legislation is necessary for the online casino industry.
The European Commission has launched a Green Paper which will open the road to a European online casino market open. According to representatives less than 15 percent of the nearly 15,000 online casino sites in the EU have a Europe license. They said the annual revenue from online gambling within the EU is more than 6 billion euros, and by 2013 that number will be doubled. They also reported that online casino gambling is the fastest-growing sector within the gaming market and include 7.5 percent of the total annual income. The Green Paper also states that a large non-authorized cross-border market was created, consisting of a black market of unlicensed sites, often from outside the EU, and a gray market of operators with a license in one Member State but operate somewhere else without proper authorization.
Within the EU there are 27 countries that do not participate or want to hand over control over their gambling laws to Brussels usually with the reason to protect the public interest and welfare of the citizens. That has not stopped the online gaming companies from sueing the countries, with the charge that these EU countries do not open their markets to protect their state lotteries. At least 10 countries are currently being investigated by the EC, but there has been little momentum in recent years and other countries have now changed their laws. The paper asks more than 50 questions about the nature and extent of the online casino gambling market and seems to be the first step to re-open the debate on the sensitive issue.
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