The arguments were summed up during a hotly contested final panel where Philippe Vlaemminck was tasked with defending the report against Mario Gallea of Random Consulting and Manuel Esparrago of Policy Action Group. Jonathon Strock provided the operator’s point of view from Barriere Interactive Gaming.
Despite a valiant effort, Philippe Vlaemminck was unable to persuade the majority of the audience that the arguments in the report favouring state monopoly were justified or defensible, a debate likely to continue.
Tom Lippiett, Associate of Berwin Leighton Paisner commented „EGB provided a high quality and comprehensive round-up of the latest issues in the European gambling sector, both at an EU and national level. The quality of speakers at EGB was, as ever, extremely high and ensured that the conference provided comprehensive coverage of the legal environment for gambling“.
EGB was once again blessed with impeccable timing – not only for the glorious weather it enjoyed – but once again an announcement on changes to policy filtered through to delegates as it was happening. This time is was the news that Denmark was to reassess its stance on igaming; allowing speakers and delegates the chance to discuss the issue straight away.
- Just about every expert in the room agreed that ISP blocking is a futile effort given modern technologies, so either regulation is needed or another method of enforcement developed;
- The tentative steps towards liberalisation in some countries are welcomed, but cautiously, with online industry interests reasserting the need for a fair tax regime and level playing-field to stop players continuing to use non-regulated sites;
- The EU Parliament will continue to support the interests of their respective monopolies and continue to employ arguments deemed unfair or unfounded according to the igaming industry;
- An EU directive or decisive actions from the ECJ still remain a distant hope, with real progress likely to come from individual states who want to raise tax and regulate their market for consumers;
- Countries to watch for potentially lucrative and quick growth are France, South Africa and potentially Denmark as regulatory changes take hold in the near future;
More informations: www.europeangamblingbriefing.com/2009