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Hold Your Breath or Hold Your Nose?

Added: Sept. 9, 2013

What’s the latest in the online casino world? Perhaps the most momentous event since the invention of the Internet is scheduled to occur Tuesday, Sep 10. On this day, the European Parliament is scheduled to hold a vote on licensing and regulating online casinos as well as online gambling throughout the member states.

As you probably know, the official seat of the European Parliament is in Strasbourg, France. All eyes will be on France for the final outcome. You too may want to pay attention to the results of this vote. At this time, it is not clear which way the parliament is forecast to vote. But, whichever choice they make, the decision will affect thousands, if not millions of people throughout the region and beyond.

There appears to be two different ways Parliament may decide. The first option, actually put forth by a British member of the Parliament is very broad in scope. In essence, the first option would establish licensing requirements that would apply throughout all member states of the European Union. Of course this option is the one most favored by online casino operators. With a single set of rules to comply with, the operators of these online casinos could comfortably conduct business in all the member states.

However, recent news reports suggest that another option may also be put forth for vote. This second option would not establish a common set of rules and regulations for all the member states after all. Instead, this second option essentially turns it back over to national authorities to establish their own individual licensing and regulation requirements. You could say that with this choice, Parliament would essentially be taking a hands-off approach.

Understandably, online casino operators are up in arms with this second option. Perhaps you can understand their position if you look at it from their point of view. Imagine dealing with a different set of rules and regulations for each member state. Worse still, imagine having to figure out the different tax rates or other fees imposed on casino gambling sites.

Bottom line is this: the vote on Tuesday will set the stage for the next few years for the online gambling market. Will the politicians do the right thing or …? Parliament will either enable a common playing field or they will let each member state use online gambling as an excuse to pass their own specialized laws or restrictions.