Relicensing Online Casinos an Issue?
The European Commission is closely watching developments in the Estonian
government as Estonian officials consider launching new legislation that would
require EU online casino gambling companies to also hold an Estonian gambling
license. The question comes down to EU policies concerning the free movement of
trade and services between EU member-states. Although Estonia’s gambling
policies are currently inclusive and conform to EU laws, requiring additional
licensing from the foreign online casinos could prove illegal.
The Commission is the enforcement arm of the EU and Commissioner Charlie
McCreevy has been investigating several EU member states that currently operate
state-run online casino gambling monopolies. And although eliminating the
monopolies is at the forefront of concerns, the new proposals for Estonian
licensing are drawing the attention of EU licensed online casinos. According to
the EU policies, if an internet gambling site holds a license in one valid EU
country, that license should hold for the other countries as well.
In addition to attention from the European media, online casinos, and the
Commission, the European Gaming and Betting Association, has expressed some
concerns. All of the debate and speculation though could be for naught according
to Estonian officials who continue to claim that the Estonian government has
made no attempts to alter the current online gambling legislation.
The online casino gambling issue has become a sticky subject all over Europe
because of the ongoing controversy concerning the state monopolies. And although
the Estonian Ministry of Finance contends that the nation is not attempting
regulate and force internet gambling sites to re-license, there is a new
gambling bill up for consideration, and until the state government has fully
disclosed the proposed changes many internet gambling companies and interest
groups will continue to speculate.