The online gambling group Betfair, and trade body the Remote Gaming Association are among the supporters of Right2Bet.net, an initiative that is inviting punters across Europe to register their vote and fight for their right to bet freely by going online and signing a virtual ‘naked petition' (http://www.thenakedpetition.com/), uploading their own content and sharing viral videos with friends.
Why naked? No, it's not an exotic form of petition, but rather the funky way in which the organisers have presented the initiative, with upbeat music, an entertaining website and an attractive model called Katie-Marie whose ample curves visitors are invited to explore in signing up for the petition.
The website also gives punters the chance to write to their MEP, using the right2bet template to urge them to raise the matter in the EU Parliament as well as letting supporters submit their own photos depicting how they have been supporting the campaign.
And webmasters are being encouraged to carry the naked petition widget from http://www.right2bet.net/media/website-widget.php.
The campaign is aimed at the many short-sighted national government obstacles to online gambling across Europe, where protectionism has become common among nations trying to shield state monopolies from fair and open competition despite the tenets of the European Union treaty.
The goal of Right2bet is to encourage the European Union to implement its own cross-boundary laws and encourage individual governments to strip away such restrictions. The campaign target is one million signatures with its ‘naked petition', the aim to persuade the EU that state monopolies are illegal, unfair, and ultimately curtail consumer freedom of choice.
This is serious stuff, and there will be divided opinions about whether the rather light-hearted approach to presenting the petition will carry the right sort of gravitas with Brussels bureaucrats, but it's fresh and different and certainly interesting.
Thanks to a generally progressive government attitude when it comes to properly regulated gambling, UK punters have the freedom to bet where and with whom they like, but Right2Bet is nevertheless encouraging them to sign up to the petition as an act of solidarity and to demand freedom of choice in Europe....and the right of British companies' to offer their services across the EU.
Michael Robb, spokesperson for the right2bet campaign, says: "This is a sexy and fun campaign, but there is also a serious side too. Betting fans in Europe are fed up of being told by politicians how and where they can bet. It's not fair that they should be restricted to one or two operators based in their own country, when there are so many other opportunities in the EU.
"So we decided it was time to make the politicians sit up and take notice - and the naked petition, supported by Katie-Marie, is the perfect way to do that! We want to lay bare the hypocrisy of the EU in allowing state monopolies and denying consumers the freedom to choose any online betting service they like."
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