Commissioner Michel Barnier received a letter on January 23, 2013 that he’s not likely to soon forget.
The Authors, Friedrich Stickler (President of The European Lotteries), Philippe Germond (President, European Pari Mutuel Association) and Ron Goudsmit (President of the European Casino Association), center their letter around the Communication and the Action Plan proposed by the European Commission in late October of 2012. While the authors laud the action plan’s attention to the fight against fraud and to protect the integrity of sports, they question the ability of the commission to guard against illegal operators.
“The associations that we chair and their members look forward to the European Commission’s support for the adoption of measures ensuring a high level of consumer protection by Member States. However, such measures can only apply to legal operators. They will thus obviously have no effect on unlicensed operators, who free themselves from complying with the laws of the Member States where they offer their services by operating out of tax havens, just as they also exempt themselves from paying the taxes they should be subject to. These measures will likewise have no effect on the gambling services they offer, which do not offer any guarantee to the European consumers in terms of protection of assets, the payment of winnings, the integrity of games or guarding against excessive gaming.
The letter goes on to state that since the Action Plan proposed by the commission fails to address the problem of illegal operators, the Action Plan itself may, despite all it promises in consumer protection and risk reduction, be meaningless.