GBGC chaired a good two days of discussion at the Legal Gaming in Europe conference at the end of January in London.
Representatives from regulators, operators, and law firms gathered to assess the changing situation across Europe. The conference was well-timed with recent announcements on legislative developments in markets such as Spain, Italy, France, UK, and Austria.
With the ruling in the Bwin-Santa Casa case and the opinion given in the Bwin/Ladbrokes-De Lotto case, many of the speakers addressed the “EU issue” and whether remote gambling companies will have to resign themselves to obtaining individual licences in each jurisdiction in which it wishes to operate.
One consistent theme across different markets was that domestic, incumbent operators (both monopolies and private companies) seemed to be favoured by proposed regulatory changes.
Elsewhere, in the likes of Belgium and Slovenia, online licences are being linked to a company’ existing land-based business. It you want to run online casino games, you need to already have a casino in that country.
In this changing regulatory landscape, the Alderney Gambling Control Commission gave a presentation on what the future for “offshore” jurisdictions might be and how Alderney itself is adapting its regulation to be as flexible as possible for the needs of its licensees.
The first day of the conference closed with a fascinating insight from Peter Wilson (Memery Crystal) and DC Mat Wake (Metropolitan Police) as to how the legislation is actually used to prosecute criminality within gambling.
Khalid Ali (European Sports Security Association) gave delegates an overview of the work of ESSA and the importance of tackling match fixing and insider betting. Sports betting integrity could be one of the big issues of 2010, especially with UK proposals to establish a new Sports Betting Intelligence Unit to tackle betting corruption in sport.
The conclusion from the conference seemed to be that things were changing but not necessarily in the direction that those who favour mutual recognition would want it.
Sports Betting Integrity Panel Report