EU moving on German net gambling ban

German flag

Reuters reported this week that the European Commission is set to step up legal action against Germany next week for its implementation of an online gambling ban.

According to "sources with knowledge of the decision" quoted in the Reuters article, the EC is planning to step up legal action against Germany, and the decision is expected to be adopted by the Commission next week.

The new German law was implemented Jan. 1 and bans online gambling and betting except on horse racing. It was put into place despite warnings from the EC that it goes against European Union policy for open markets.

Charlie McCreevy, European Union internal market commissioner, has been working to crack down on hurdles to cross-border competition services such as online gambling. Those services are a core part of the EU's single market.

McCreevy started legal action against Germany last year over its gaming laws. If the EU moves forward like the Reuters source is saying it will, the new legal action could end up in the European Court of Justice, where Germany could be fined and forced to change its laws to comply with EU rules.

Last week the European Gaming and Betting association, an association of several European gaming and betting operators, including bwin, PartyGaming and others, filed an official complaint against the German online gambling ban with the EC.

At the time, EGBA Secretary General Sigrid Ligne said the organization was urging the EC to fast-track the complaint and launch infringement proceedings against Germany.

McCreevy has also launched proceedings in the past against about 10 EU countries for stifling competition in their gaming and lottery industries. France and Austria have been warned about their restrictive gambling laws, while the EC has taken action in cases against Denmark, Finland and Hungary, among others.

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