Shares in some online gaming firms soared yesterday as the future of a ban on internet gambling in the US appeared to fade.
Past efforts to ban internet gambling have never been realized.
Three bills introduced recently to try and curb internet gambling would have seen major problems for many online gaming companies that see the US as their biggest market.
However, the Internet toto sgp Gambling Prohibition Act, proposed by Republican senator Bob Goodlatte came under attack from law-makers at a meeting of a subcommittee of the House of Representatives. Some Congressmen were concerned that the bill clamped down on some forms of betting while allowing others to continue.
No date has been set for a further hearing for the bill and sector watchers say the odds of it making it onto the statute book have lengthened.
“For the last month, people have taken a dim view of US legislation, so today’s news is welcome relief,” said Charles Wilson, analyst at Bridgewell Securities. “Without the threat of legislation, online gambling shares are significantly undervalued.”
“There’s still the Kyl bill to come,” he added, “but some of the risk has now been taken out.”
European Union Serves Official Notice To Restricted Countries
In response to complaints from sports betting operators the European Commission has sent official requests for reports on the national legislation restricting the supply of sport betting services to seven Member States: Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Germany, Hungary and the Netherlands.
Some press releases are so far misleading and contradicting the fact that the Commission’s actions may not necessarily result in opening up the sports betting markets in the countries involved.
The complaints center around the restrictions on provision of sports betting services, requirements for a State concession or license (even where a provider is lawfully licensed in another Member State) and in some cases restrictions on the promotion or advertising of the services and the participation of nationals in the Member State in question.
The European Court of Justice has previously stated that any restrictions seeking to protect consumers must be consistent in how they limit betting activities. A Member State cannot restrict its citizen’s access to betting services while at the same time encouraging them to participate in state lotteries, games of chance or betting that benefits the state’s finances.
The formal requests are the first step in an infringement procedure under Article 226 of the EC Treaty. The Member States in question have two months to respond.
Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy stated “I don’t underestimate the sensitivities that exist in many member States on the question of gambling. In sending these letters, we are not seeking to liberalize the market in any way. Rather, we are seeking reassurance that whatever measures Member States have in place are fully compatible with existing EU law, or have been brought fully into line. I hope that the replies we receive will offer us sufficient reassurance. In that case, it will be the end of the matter. I will certainly do what I can to facilitate an early resolution, and I encourage all concerned to play their part too.”
Due to the complaints received the Commission feels obliged to respond, deciding to seek the information from the Member States concerned, and aims to confirm whether their national legislation is compatible with Article 49 of the EC Treaty which guarantees free movement of services. This decision relates only to the compatibility of the national measures in question with existing EU law, and only to the field of sports betting.