Online Gambling Websites Banned

Published on: January 16, 2008 

It was announced today that the European betting industry intends on filing a formal complaint to the EU that will fight the current ban of online gambling in Germany.  Proponents of the law, which passed on January 1, 2008, are trying to keep any online gaming and betting from being practiced in the country.  The ban does not cover horse racing, which residents of the country are still allowed to bet on.

The European Gaming and Betting Association claims that the ban is breaking laws and is not practical.  The German government claims that the ban protects its people and that by banning online gambling, it helps preserve lotteries that are government run and help raise money for the country.  They also claim that by banning online gambling, other traditional methods of gambling – namely casinos and other establishments – are being ignored.  They do not feel that there is any difference between the two.

Of course, the European Commission is arguing that the German law is in accordance with EU law, and therefore legal.  The law that was passed on January 1 has already been enacted.  The problem lies in that the German government is only restricting certain types of gambling and allowing others, namely the state run lotteries.  This is a common problem in other European countries and because there is no consistency – such as banning all gambling or banning none – the law makes no sense.  Gambling is gambling, online or otherwise and that they should not be treated differently.  The commission is not trying to keep the countries from protecting their citizens; they are trying to make sure that the laws are fair and apply to everyone.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Hungary are just a few other countries that are considering banning online gambling.  The EU Commission is supposed to make a final decision on this law by the end of January and they have already filed proceedings against other countries that banned online gambling.

European nations are not the only ones that have considered stopping people from gambling online.  Australia has passed a similar law and at one time, the Bush administration in the United States also tried to shut down gambling websites.  Many officials feel that online gambling can be just as addictive as physically standing at a gaming table and playing.

If the EU Commission decides to pursue legal action, the European Court of Justice has the power to force Germany to change their laws.

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