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Online gaming and betting: Romanian law triggers for second time European Commission’s objections

Date

02 Mar 2011

Sections

EU Priorities 2020
Sports

The European Commission issued today a second detailed opinion against the Romanian reform on online gaming and betting (see link). This second detailed opinion implies that the Commission confirms its serious concerns about the compatibility of the Romanian legislation with EU law.

EGBA has identified a number of provisions which are still highly doubtful under EU law both in the main framework legislation and in the draft regulations implementing the framework legislation. This includes in particular:

    * The requirement for EU licensed online gaming companies to be established in Romania
    * Allowing operators to apply for an online gaming license only if they are directly or indirectly involved (shareholder or partner) in a Romanian land-based gaming operation

According to Sigrid Ligné, Secretary General of EGBA, “The European Commission has now confirmed its assessment according to which the Romanian law is in breach of EU law. This should bring the Romanian authorities to urgently and substantially redraft their legislation in accordance with EU rules. Romania is otherwise running the risk to face the launch of an infringement proceeding by the European Commission”.

The European Commission, Malta and the United Kingdom expressed already back in October 2010 strong reservations (see link) about the compliance of Romania’s draft framework legislation with EU law. Romania decided however to enforce its framework legislation on 24 December 2010, despite remaining inconsistencies with EU law.

This second detailed opinion, which deals with the draft regulations implementing the framework legislation (see link), questions further Romania’s reform that will make it highly difficult for EU licensed and regulated operators to apply for a license in Romania.

The Romanian draft implementing regulations notified to the European Commission and Member States on 30 November 2010 also received a detailed opinion from Malta and comments from the UK. Today’s detailed opinions extends the standstill period until 1st April 2011, during which Romania cannot adopt the implementing regulations. Romania is required to reply to the Commission’s views. If Romania fails to take into account the Commission’s objections, the Commission could decide to launch infringement proceedings.

- END –

For further information or comment please contact:
Sigrid Ligné: +32 2 554 08 90
Sigrid.Ligne@egba.eu

www.egba.eu

About EGBA

The EGBA is an association of leading European gaming and betting operators Bet-at-home.com, BetClic, bwin, Digibet, Expekt, Interwetten, PartyGaming and Unibet. EGBA is a Brussels-based non-profit association. It promotes the right of private gaming and betting operators that are regulated and licensed in one Member State to a fair market access throughout the European Union. Online gaming and betting is a fast growing market, but will remain for the next decades a limited part of the overall European gaming market in which the traditional land based offer is expected to grow from € 79.6 Billion GGR in 2009 to € 83 Billion GGR in 2012, thus keeping the lion’s share with 87% of the market. Source: H2 Gambling Capital, April 2010. .

The Notification Procedure

Under Directive 98/34/EC, Member States must notify to the European Commission and other Member States draft regulations regarding products and Information Society services such as online gaming and betting, before adopting them. This procedure is aimed at preventing Member States from creating new barriers to the internal market freedoms by giving the opportunity to the Commission and Member States to evaluate the content of a draft law before it is adopted.

The notification of a text to the Commission opens a three month standstill period during which the draft text must not be adopted. This period allows the Commission and Member States to ascertain whether the draft text presents any unjustified barriers to the internal market. The Commission and/or Member States may then issue:

    * a detailed opinion, if they consider that the draft text would, if implemented, create barriers to trade, services or establishment within the EU;
    * comments, if they consider that the text raises issues of interpretation or requires further details; or
    * no response, if they consider that the text is compatible with EU law.

A detailed opinion attempts to prevent Members States from adopting a text, which contains barriers to the internal market, or to urge them to remove the restrictive provisions, thereby avoiding unnecessary legislative work and future EU infringement proceedings.

Once a detailed opinion had been issued, the standstill period, during which the draft text must not be adopted, is extended by one month. If, after this time, the draft text is adopted without modification, the Commission can immediately commence an infringement procedure against the Member State’s newly adopted legislation.

To access the TRIS database and search for other draft laws see:
http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/tris/pisa/app/search/index.cfm?lang=EN
 

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