In December of 2007, thirteen German states passed a resolution officially banning nearly all forms of online gambling within Germany much to the chagrin of poker players the worldwide. The EU is now ready to launch a legal attack against the legislation.
Various actions already been taken against Germany by some of the larger gambling companies that formerly operated there; especially Austrian online bookmaker bWin and Tipp24 who both began to form legal arguments against the legislation before it even came into effect.
Reuters recently reported that the EU has decided to take legal action against Germany and will seek European Commission approval as early as this week. The EU has decided to take such action because Germany’s recent ban goes against the European Community’s philosophy of free movement of goods and services throughout the member states of the Community.
“The decision is expected to be adopted by the Commission next Thursday,” a source connected with the legal actions against the German government commented.
A source from the gaming industry was also quoted as saying, “There were no objections to the move in yesterday’s preparatory meeting. The Commission is expected to open a new legal action with a letter of formal notice against Germany over the new law and could well drop the old legal action it started last year.”
This most recent action taken by the European Union against Germany will result in a final warning before taking the case to the European Court of Justice. Although the activities in Germany have made many headlines, this is not the only case of its kind going on right now. The EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy has undertaken several proceedings against nearly a dozen other EU member countries regarding the same type of discriminatory policies that Germany has instated. Some of the most recent countries also making the news regarding this issue are Sweden, France and Finland.
Perhaps the main reason that these countries have pushed so hard to ban online gaming from their country is to create state monopolies over the ludicrous market of gambling. Interestingly, online gambling has created one of the most intense debates to date over the role of the EU and how much power it should have over its nation-state members. Such philosophical debates are at the root of modern transnational political issues. Whatever results come of these online gambling issues will be used as precedence in future cases involving EU involvement in matters that go beyond the borders of the nation-state.