Stanleybet continues to fight on

Stanleybet continues it resistance to Greek exclusionary practices

Members of the EU parliament are starting to react to a petition organised by Stanleybet and supported by other online gambling operators and players demanding that the European Commission acts quickly to enforce EU principles of free movement of goods and services in competitive markets.

The European Parliament Petitions Committee has flagged the failure of the Greek government to comply with EU standards as worthy of an investigation by the Commission. The Stanleybet petition was started last year after customers and employees were arrested by Greek police for allegedly violating the national gaming monopoly of state owned operator OPAP (see previous InfoPowa report). Stanleybet's attempt to operate betting shops in Greece in defiance of the monopoly resulted in the establishments being shut down within days, apparently at the urging of OPAP.

Sir Robert Atkins, a member of the EU parliament from the UK, has been particularly outspoken on the issue, claiming that it is time the European Commission exercised its enforcement powers to ensure that Greece complied with EU law. He was supported by Malta EU parliamentary representative Simon Busuttil, who characterised the Greek situation as “a clear case of breach of EU law."

A third EU parliamentarian, Roger Helmer of Britain, has accused OPAP of commercial protectionism and joined others in urging the EC to take action, commenting that "justice delayed is justice denied.”

Adding fuel to the fire, Stanleybet spokesmen said that the gambling company had repeatedly applied for Greek licensing, but that its efforts have been rejected or delayed.

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