Wednesday, April 20, 2005Contact: Maurits Bruggink
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European Parliament tends to oppose harmonisation of betting market

European Parliament is divided over proposals to liberalize the EU services markets. The proposals would allow a service provider in any of the 25 Member States to provide its services throughout the European Union with its national license. This is called the “country of origin” principle.

Fears exist that this will lead to social dumping. Service providers licensed in countries with few rules and low social protection levels (reference is made in particular to the new EU member states) would enter other countries that would be forced to lower their levels in order to remain competitive.

Most controversie is over the general application of this "country of origin" principle. There seems little opposition to exclude gambling services from the scope of the directive.

As a key Member of European Parliament said: "Gambling needs to be excluded because many Member States have restrictive rules on it. In Scandinavian states, for example, 80% of the proceeds from the national lottery go to charity. It's not that simple to say 'let's just privatise everything'.”

The European Parliament is not expected to make a decision before the summer break. IFHA very much supports the exclusion of betting from the scope of the proposals.

The first draft opinion by the European Parliament can be found at:

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