MEP Sari Essayah (EPP, Christian Democrats) urged the European Commission to propose a solution by which gambling activities would, due to their special nature, remain within the competence of Member States. Ms Essayah also called on the Commission to discontinue infringement proceedings during the debate in the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Friday 12th February.
In her argument Ms Essayah emphasised the fact that gambling games are not services in the regular sense of the term. Gambling can be addictive resulting in social costs and other negative consequences borne by Member States.
”The more gambling is deregulated, the more sport becomes a channel for gambling winnings and exposes it to money laundering associated with criminal activities”, warned Ms Essayah.
”Some dozen cases have been brought before the European Court of Justice, the most recent of which is the Liga Portuguese case. It is not right the matters related to gambling proceed only as a result of ECJ decisions and infringement proceedings. Rather, a political decision which does not lead to harmonisation must be made.”
”Many products which are not allowed to be sold across borders, can be sold online,” she reminded. ”Furthermore, online companies must also comply with the law in Member States.”
Ms Essayah encouraged commissioner Barnier to prepare a Green Paper on gambling which should provide tools to prevent problems resulting from online provision from outside Europe.