EU watchdogs probe German and Swedish gambling blockades
Bookies sans frontières
German and Sweden are to be hauled over the coals by EU competition regulators for stopping online gaming firms entering their markets.
New laws that came into force in Germany this month ban online gambling. The European commission is investigating whether the legislation contravenes EU law on free access to markets.
EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy has asked Germany to explain why. "Germany has two months in which to respond. The Commission hopes that the answers it receives will lead to an early and satisfactory resolution of the matter," an EU commission statement said.
Sweden has attracted attention for rules it has placed on online poker and tournaments. It also has a two-month deadline to respond, Reuters reports.
The investigations could eventually end up in the European Court of Justice, which has the power to overturn anti-competitive national laws and levy big fines. ®
If Germany and Sweden were blocking online gambling for ethical reasons, I'd dislike their nannying, but I'd understand it; but they're not, they're protecting their nice little state earners. They're certainly not the only EU states playing these games.
The irony is that if you do want to gamble, your odds are much better with the offshore online gambling companies (of course the house always wins in the long run). I spent a year or two in the online gambling sector, and to be honest I found the industry and some of the people in it a bit dubious, and was glad to get out, but it became clear to me that a lot of the state owned gambling organisations were worse...
Can we not....
Just get rid of the EU? Seriously? It's such a waste of time nowadays anyway. It's got about as much teeth as the UN, another bueracratic (or however the heck you spell that word, tried four times and still doesn't look right) monster that needs to be destroyed and started again.
We need a WORLD union rather than a european one.
People have the choice on how they spend their money.
There is an assumption that those who gamble online are spending their lives' saving on it, which is further from the truth than could be imagined. The majority of players are casual ones having a flutter; there are others who really do play with a lot of cash, but these are serious players and would other wise play in a casino.
Gambeling companies would not survive if the players lost lots of money on the games, which is why these games pay out rather well. Otherwise, its bad for their business "Come play and loose" is not a good strapline. As a result players are really winning.
The companies also let you play for free. You can bet on the tables with virtual money, and win. Of course, its not real money and you cannot put it into the bank accouny ;P If a player wants to play with real money then the option is there. Of course, this is a ploy to get the player comfortable with the game so that s/he will feel comfortable and then wager real bets. This works both ways. The player gains confidence and wins more money on the real tables, and the companies gain a client.
These people are often playing for fun and relaxation, and I expect they get a similar joy from a table that I get from playing my favourite MMORG.
Online gambeling is well regulated and if players are highlighted as having a gambeling problem, they are usually contacted and asked if they want to suspect their account, or have hard limits set so that they cannot gamble their lifes savings away.
Back to the point: People have the choice on how they spend their money. It is not up to a government how they should spend their money other than that the local taxes (Income tax, car tax, poll tax, VAT on goods etc) in that nation.
However, this is all silly because usually the reason a nation wants to ban something like this is to protect their own internal market. The evils of gambeling can be applied to the evils of foreign investment and that terrible foreign food [that undermines the national markets].