Protest against Belgian Authorities Unites Online Gambling Firms

This week, the Financial Times received a letter signed by a number of online gambling industry figures, as a response to journalist Jonathan Guthrie’s article titled "EU must act over protectionist rules".

The letter was written by Michael Carlton, the chief executive of Victor Chandler International on behalf of himself and a host of high profile online gaming firm executives, namely Denise and John Coates, the joint Chief Executives of bet365, Stéphane Courbit, President of Betclic Everest Group, Canel Frichet, Chief Executive of Winamax, Noel Hayden, Managing Director of Gamesys, Denis Kelly, Chief Executive of Stan James, Brian Mattingly, Chief Executive of 888 Holdings, Andrew McIver, Chief Executive of Sportingbet, Jim Ryan and Norbert Teufelberger, Co-Chief Executives of bwin.party digital entertainment, Magnus Silfverberg, Chief Executive of Betsson, Ralph Topping, Chief Executive of William Hill and Ed Ware, Chief Executive of 32Red.

In it, the executives expressed dissatisfaction with the European Commission's failure to act against member states in contravention of European Union Law at the same time condemning the detainment of bwin.party digital entertainment's co-chief executive Norbert Teufelberger in Brussels last week, a "stone’s throw from the European parliament and the office of Michel Barnier, European commissioner for internal market and services” which they said was "a stark reminder of the legal uncertainty that prevails in the European online gaming market".

In addition to all this, Clive Hawkswood, chief executive of trade body, the Remote Gambling Association, assessed that protectionist behavior is becoming increasingly common because of the Commission's lack of action against member states such as Greece, Belgium and Bulgaria.

He added: “Member states appear to see the commission as a dog that rarely barks and never bites at all.”

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