Tuesday, May 30, 2006
EU Member States vote against harmonisation of gambling services

On 29 May, the 25 EU Member States rejected proposals to harmonise national gambling laws in the European Union.

Gambling services were incorporated in a proposal for an EU law on services, which aims to liberalise this sector throughout the European Union on the basis of the principle of “country of origin”. According to this principle, a service provider licensed in one EU Member State would be allowed to offer its services in any other Member State on the basis of the host country license.

After two years of heated debate, the proposed law was already considerably weakened by the European Parliament, whose amendments earlier this year included a removal of the country of origin principle and an exclusion of specific economic sectors such as gambling.

In a meeting on 29 May, the Economics Ministers of the European Union’s 25 Member States agreed in broad lines with the amendments by the European Parliament and also voted to exclude gambling services from this harmonisation law.

According to EU procedures, the directive will be put to a second reading in the European Parliament and then Member States will have to adopt it and transform it into national laws.