Gambling law is a hot subject all over the world right now and is especially such when it comes to European legislation as of late. Many countries are changing their policies on the subject and organization, such as the European Union, are making very influential decisions with regards to all member states.

Despite wishes on behalf of the European Union that its mandates be acknowledged and followed, some countries still insist on going against the grain. A few such countries are France, Poland and most recently Belgium. Speculations indicate that these countries have crossed the line intentionally in order to test Michel Barnier, the new European Commissioner.

Belgium has stirred the subject to the brink of boiling by recently passing a law regulating online gambling that did not address several points of contention with EU rules, as found by the European Commission.

The European Commission gave an official Detailed Opinion to Belgian legislators which pointed out which parts of Belgian gambling laws needed to be amended in order to comply with EU law. Some of the points pointed out by the European Commission include: an unjustified limit on licenses, requirements of servers being located in Belgium, and forbidding citizens to participate in EU licensed and regulated internet gambling in Belgium.

Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, Sigrid Ligne, condemned Belgium’s action saying that, “The law is not only highly questionable from a legal point of view, a high level of consumer protection can be achieved by specific and targeted legislation, not by protecting the operators with a vested interest in the current situation.”

On December 3rd, lawmakers in Belgium passed the law without taking into considerations concerns that were voiced by the European Commission. In doing so, the Belgian Government has subjected itself to infringement proceedings that may be held by the EC.

By John Meyrs