Online Gambling News from Greece and Finland

August 8th, 2011  |  Published in Inrodution

There were recently new developments in the online gambling situations in Finland and Greece. Unfortunately the news from both countries is not good. In Finland, a new coalition government has indicated that stricter restrictions will be imposed on foreign gambling operators. Therefore, state-owned monopolistic operators will greatly benefit from the restrictions placed on outside online casino operators.

Finnish Restrictions

The government has not yet discussed the exact measures that are being considered. However, the executives of the gambling monopoly, RAY, have implied such measures as Internet blocking, advertising restrictions and the disruption of financial transactions with illegal foreign companies. These measures will be difficult to implement because of the extensive resources required to conduct such an operation.

Finnish Government Considerations

Also, the definition of an illegal operator continues to be vaguely-defined so the likelihood of legal actions taken by overseas operators is high. Unfortunately the Finnish government is considering these actions regardless of the advice given by online gaming experts which have identified these measures to be detrimental to the industry. Aside from giving players a choice, these restrictions limit business growth and eliminate local players from receiving the best odds.

Greek Gaming Proposals

On July 7th, 2011, the European Commission (EC) responded to Greek proposals to regulate online gambling and expressed strong concerns regarding the compatibility of the recently drafted legislation with European Union (EU) laws. The most questionable provisions are those brought forth by the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) which indicates the requirement for EU licensed operators to be established in Greece and backed by a Greek bank.

Other Questionable Provisions

Also, the law limits the number of issued licenses while imposing a minimum capital requirement on new applications. Additionally, financial transfers are to be limited to local banks. The draft also contains many legal, technical and practical uncertainties which could cause problems down the road. For instance, the types of games to be offered by operators have not been clearly identified. The draft has also been reviewed by Malta which has stated the same opinion.

The original laws were submitted to the EC on April 5th, 2011. However, the EC has extended the submission period to August 8th. During this time, the Greek government will be unable to adopt the draft regulation and are required to reply to the EC’s objection. If the country proceeds without the approval of the EC, Greece could receive infringement proceedings. Ultimately Greece has a short amount of time to amend the draft to comply with the EC.

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