Brussels refuses to accept gambling monopoly arguments

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Arguments which the Dutch government used to maintain its current gambling laws are contrary to the agreements made in the establishment of the European Union. This was the conclusion of Commissioner McCreevy (Internal Market) in his inquest for clarification on the Dutch rules for gambling on sporting events via the Internet.
The Dutch government wanted to keep the preliminary report under wraps. The report came into the possession of the ANP (Dutch press association) on Friday.

The need to generate revenue for the public purse and charities, is not a valid justification for the gaming rules, McCreevy wrote. The Commissioner further doubts whether the government is doing enough against gambling addiction and went on to refer to the large advertising budgets of the Dutch Lotto.

Brussels believes that there is no reason to ban legal gaming companies from other European countries in the Dutch market. The reprot is the first step to a possible showdown at the European Court. Germany, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Italy and Sweden have been issued with the same warning.

Lawyers from various foreign bookmakers asked the Ministry of Justice to make the report public. Their request was rejected. Without a reply from the Ministry, disclosure would lead to a unilateral (media) discussion to the detriment of the Netherlands.

The government has two months to formulate a response. That has however not yet happened. Dutch minister Donner (Justice) expects the European Commission will be satisfied with the information he will provide.

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