In spite of the disapproval of the European Commission, the Danish Government may be getting ready to pass a UIGEA-like provision to stop or discourage online gambling as early as April 2008.

We reported on this situation a few months ago: “The European Commission had already noticed and condemned this monopoly four years ago, instituting an infringement procedure against Danske Spil, the Danish gambling monopoly (…)Danske Spil continues to violate Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty (freedom of establishment and free movement of services respectively.)”

The European Commission has already issued a “reasoned opinion” and a warning against this state of affairs, and public opinion within the country is also in favor of a freer gambling market. However, there are unconfirmed reports circulating that suggest the Danish government is preparing legislation to further empower the state-run gaming monopoly Danske Spil and to further exclude all other gaming providers in Denmark by blocking financial transactions into operators other than Danske Spil. The already controversial Danish Pools and Lottery Act only allows Danske Spil to offer games, lotteries and bets.

The European Gaming and Betting Association – which includes gambling giants Bwin, Party Gaming and Unibet – has in the past urged the EC to pursue this matter in the European Court of Justice, claiming it is an instance of unfair protectionism and against EU law: "Both from a legal and political point of view this is of course completely unacceptable. EGBA therefore urges the Commission to back up their own words with actions and take the next step: initiate an ECJ-trial against Denmark." Former Danish Member of Parliament Freddy Blak also joined in with an open letter to the European Union compliance commissioner Charlie McCreevy, encouraging him to take legal action against the Danish government.

In a recent newsletter, the EGBA declared that: “We believe that any anti-online gambling legislation which is proposed or upheld by individual member states is likely to be breaking EU law. The EGBA is fighting against this discriminatory legislation as we believe that it is being introduced primarily to protect state-run monopolies.”

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