Euro Poker: EU Pushes French, Greek Gaming Monopolies
Extension Granted to France And Greece to Respond to European Commission on Gaming Monopolies
The European Commission has given France and Greece a two month extension to respond to legal action it is taking over those countries barriers to foreign gaming companies according to news agency Reuters.
In June the Commission hauled France and Sweden to the brink of European Court of Justice action. At the same time it gave Greece a warning that it was also at risk over its restrictive laws.
"The deadline for Greece and for France is now 29 October," said Oliver Drewes, a spokesman for the executive's Internal Market Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, at the end of August.
"We have not seen anything from Sweden so far but they did not ask for an extension so we assume it's on its way," he continued, adding that the situation in France had altered since a favourable court ruling in July which overturned a ruling that banned a Maltese firm, Zeturf, from offering online horse race betting in France.
This has increased pressure on France to end its state gaming monopoly.
Last year a complaint from the French National Lottery, La Francaise des Jeux, led to the arrest of two executives from Austrian online gambling firm Bwin.com while visiting France.
State monopolies on betting and gambling are commonplace in Europe and have angered many private operators who find their activities in these countries restricted.
The EU position has been made clear by McCreevy who has said despite their being no agreement among EU states to develop pan-EU rules on gaming he was prepared to use his legal powers to stop restrictions on the free movement of services in the Union.
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