Poker Site Owners Stick Together On EU Law

Posted:January 2013

What Do Co- Ceo of - Jim Ryan, Michael Carlton – CEO, Victor Chandler International; Denise Coates and John Coates – Joint CEOs, bet365; Stéphane Courbit – President, Betclic Everest Group; Canel Frichet – CEO, Winamax; Noel Hayden – Managing Director, Gamesys; Denis Kelly – CEO, Stan James; Brian Mattingly – CEO, 888 Holdings; Andrew McIver – CEO, Sportingbet; Magnus Silfverberg – CEO, Betsson; Ralph Topping – CEO, William Hill, and Ed Ware – CEO, 32Red, all have in common? Yes, we know they are all BIG bosses in the online poker world (or at least you do now), and other Internet gambling offerings, but what they have in common in this context, is they are sticking together, and are sick and tired of European counties and contravening EU rulings in their respective industries.

In fact they have all signed an open letter in the Financial Times, stating that they are against the detention and questioning of co-CEO of – Norbert Teufelberger by Belgian authorities. Teufelberger also signed, unsurprisingly.

What has really put the cat amongst the pigeons is that online poker sites and other gambling sites have been blacklisted by the Belgian Government – there is a long list affected sites. This is happening despite European trade treaties stating that internet gambling sites should be able to ply their free trade amongst EU partner countries. But this is just not happening. So, when a brother Big-Wig gambling boss; from a London Stock exchange listed company is detained and questioned regarding his companies business in Belgium, it puts everyone’s hackles on end.

These business owners are as mad as heck, they say they have had enough, and believe that Belgian authorities are running contrary to EU law. These bosses have been fighting this for several years, and are now opening up the challenge to European Commission.

In 2010 - Head of the European Commission, Michel Barnier ruled “’…ensuring compliance of national law with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU) is a prerequisite of a successful EU policy on online gambling…if blatant infringements persist, I will not hesitate to propose to my colleagues that the appropriate proceedings be taken or re-launched.’”

It seems that these poker bosses are now holding him to his word.


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