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European legal update IGCE, November 5th 2006, Dublin Evelyn Heffermehl ULYS law firm.

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Presentation on theme: "European legal update IGCE, November 5th 2006, Dublin Evelyn Heffermehl ULYS law firm."— Presentation transcript:

1 European legal update IGCE, November 5th 2006, Dublin Evelyn Heffermehl ULYS law firm

2 European legal update Content  Commission’s infringement proceedings  France’s unsettled climate  Belgium’s draft proposal on games of chance

3 European legal update Until last April Commission did not initiate any infringement proceedings April 2006: opening of infringement proceedings against seven member states  Limited to sports betting market  Does not touch upon existence of monopolies as such but examines consistency of gambling policy

4 European legal update Commission infringement meeting October 12 th : new proceedings  Italy: disproportionate character of the Italian finance act 2006 imposing blocking of sites in view of article 49 EC Treaty  Austria: national legislation prohibits promotion and advertising of foreign casinos +discriminatory gambler protection provisions only protects Austrian nationals  France : restrictions imposed by national legislation on private online bookmakers licensed in the EU whilst ever expanding national offer by monopolies

5 European legal update Why did the Commission decide to act ?  Exclusion of gambling from Services directive  Numerous complaints lodged by bookmakers  Intense lobbying by private operators National developments:  Germany’s constitutional court ruling March 2006  Italy’s decision to block gambling sites: notification had been sent to Italy but legislation remained in place despite DG enterprise’s LFN on non notification aspect (directive 98/34) in June  France: Bwin arrest “straw that broke the camel’s back” + other complaint lodged at DG Competition by main body representing casino sector based on abuse of dominant position

6 European legal update France: The Bwin “case” Complaint by FDJ (monopoly) to the “Juge d’instruction” : “super cop” with investigative and judicial competences : decides whether sufficient charges to defer matter to courts Arrest followed sponsorship deal with Monaco football club Charges: “unlawful games of chance, unlawful lotteries, advertising of a prohibited lottery, unlawful horse betting” Investigation still going on

7 European legal update France Finance minister has announced toughening of sanctions against advertisers: could rise up to 5 times amount of investments against only 4500 € today Government envisages blocking of sites (// Italy): French ISP association not in favour

8 European legal update Gaming battle between France and Europe has started Possible consequences Freezing of ongoing actions Mid term market opening High administrative court also seized of the consistency of the FDJ monopoly with EU law Climate unsettled at the moment: government is toughening its stance but difficult to know whether it will “walk the talk”

9 European legal update Belgium: draft proposal on games of chance  Possibility for EU remote gaming operators to obtain “certificate” (quality label) with Gaming Commission provided they fulfil certain conditions.  Likely adoption end 2006 via the Finance Act

10 European legal update Where from here?  De facto de regulation process taking place at national level : Germany, Italy, Belgium  Real push comes from market  Commission: “defensive” stance, follows evolution at national level before acting De regulation: two to five years  Community act not on the agenda  No European unlawful internet gambling act !

11 Thank you for your attention

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