Saturday, September 08, 2007

Euro Governments Having Hissy Fits at Losing Gambling Monopolies

[Cal here, checking in on a slow Saturday night---]

The extent to which U.S. online poker players feel disgust at their government's efforts to block online gambling can be mirrored by players in other countries, as both France and Sweden seem to have retrenched in the past week or two, defying European Union mandates.

Ah, greed.

France, now, that's little surprise. The visibility of online-poker advertising kin that country should drop to near zero, for the foreseeable future, after the action of a law calling for a minimum fine of €30,000 for any foreign-based online gambling within the country. It's obvious that this in direct contradiction to the EU's stance on open markets, but France continues to obstruct and deny wherever possible. In the meantime, France has received an extension on a related horseracing matter.

Over in Sweden, that country's government has trotted out the old "for the public good" saw as its reason for blocking online sites from openly setting up shop in Sweden. This one's a delaying tactic, all but certain to not pass EU muster, but is instead likely to keep another year or two of monopoly-generated revenues flowing in to the government until they're forced to comply. In the meantime, the Swedish state-run gambling service, Svenska Spel, had indicated that they wil not expand their marketing scope and technological enhancements in light of the recent developments, specifically including extra attention to online poker.

The winner of all this seems to be Malta, where companies can set up shop and be part of the UK Gambling Act-generated whitelist, yet still receive larger favorable tax rates. That's the nature of all international businesses these days; don't think that online poker companies are any sort of exception to business's golden rule.

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