Financial Times journalist and online gambling expert Jonathan Guthrie had earlier written a letter titled “EU must act over protectionist rules”. Guthrie’s proposal met a supportive response from leaders of the most prominent online gaming firms in Europe.
The response letter was written by Michael Carlton, the chief executive of Victor Chandler International. Other notable signers included the joint Chief Executives of bet365, the President of Betclic Everest Group, the Chief Executive of 888 Holdings, the Chief Executive of Sportingbet, the Co-Chief Executives of bwin.party digital entertainment, the Chief Executive of Betsson, the Chief Executive of William Hill and the Chief Executive of 32Red.
The letter to the Financial Times and online gambling news in Belgium expressed deep concerns over the European Commission’s failure to imply European Union gambling directives and take measures against member states who break the EU gaming laws.
The action was a result of the detainment and subsequent release of bwin.party digital entertainment co-chief executive Norbert Teufelberger in Brussels last week.
Norbert Teufelberger was accused of breaking the Belgian gambling laws by not having the operations of his company properly licensed in Belgium. The letter pointed out that the bwin boss was detained a “stones throw from the European parliament and the office of Michel Barnier, European commissioner for internal market and services. It is a stark reminder of the legal uncertainty that prevails in the European online gaming market”.
Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of Remote Gambling Association trade body emphasized that protectionist behavior is becoming common in Europe, for instance regarding online casinos in Belgium. The European Commission lacks action against other member including Greece and Bulgaria.
Hawkswood commented: “Member states appear to see the commission as a dog that rarely barks and never bites at all.”