(PRESS RELEASE) -- It's been another big week in European politics for the gambling industry, with changes afoot in the EU Commission, but no change in the attitudes of some of Europe's supposedly liberal and trade-minded governments.
The recent appointment of Frenchman Michel Barnier in place of Charlie McCreevy as European Commissioner for Internal Markets has caused a diplomatic stir between France and Britain, with Nicolas Sarkozy remarking at a press conference this week that British interests, most likely in the gambling industry, would lose out with a Frenchman at the helm. The French, of course, have resisted EU attempts to open up their market to foreign interests, aiming to ensure the continued financial successes of their state-run enterprises, often criticised for their lack of value and excitement.
It's not only the French who see a government-owned gambling monopoly as a money-spinner, as the recent findings of the Commission's investigation into the proposed new Belgian deregulation testify. Belgium, already warned back in June when submitting its plans, has been given another reprimand for the requirements its legislation places on any possible operators, which includes hosting its servers in the state and having a history of activity within the country. Both policies are heavily restrictive to possible operators, many of which have been banned from developing a history in the country under current law!
The Right2bet campaign's attitude to this is simple: the European Union's main reason for being (or, sticking with the French and Belgian theme, raison d'Ítre) is to facilitate trade between member nations, and offer each citizen equal lifestyle and employment opportunities. Whilst using a state company to boost the country's tax revenue may be benevolent, it's against the core responsibilities of Member State governments and impacts against the customer, either forcing them into accepting uncompetitive monopoly prices or looking to providers in other nations, regardless of the consequences, which leaves consumers far less protected than if they were using well-regulated operators within the EU.
The Right2bet petition is available at www.right2bet.net, along with the weekly blog featuring all the latest stories from the campaign trail, charity betting challenges, poetry and the chance to email your MEP directly!