Betting on sport in the UK has never been so popular. The proliferation of online betting sites has opened up a vast range of sporting events and markets for punters. Popular amongst UK punters are football, rugby union / league, golf and snooker, along with US sports such as American football and baseball.
European Online Betting Rules and Regulations
Each European state traditionally had its own legislation for online gambling (many still do), but the formation of the European Union (EU) created uncertainty for online punters. The EU has specific legislation guaranteeing free, fair competition between companies of member states, and these rules apply to non-EU companies wishing to trade in the EU. Theoretically, online gambling is completely legal within the EU. However, online betting has been an extremely contentious issue. The EU has had to deal with a host of challenges from companies attempting to operate within other EU states. EU members can enact their own laws to prohibit access to foreign online gambling. There are currently 10 EU members, among them France and Germany, who have introduced restrictive laws to protect their own state monopolies.
All forms of online gambling are illegal in France, which is in direct violation of EU free competition directives. France has defended its legal position vigorously, arresting visiting executives of foreign online gambling companies. However, France cannot remain in contravention of EU law indefinitely and change is imminent. In 2008, France announced that it was working on new legislation to safely open up the online gambling market.
Online gambling is also illegal in Germany. A total ban prohibits all online casino games, sports betting and bingo. The government can order German Internet service providers to block customers` access to gambling sites and prevent banks from doing business with online betting firms. Purportedly to safeguard Germans from the “hazards” of online betting, this legislation conveniently protects the state-controlled gambling monopoly.
Several online betting firms have commenced legal challenges. Online Australian operator, B-win Interactive, has already lost two actions against Germany. However, the European Commission can sue member states to ensure compliance and B-win will continue to appeal, in the belief that the threat of serious sanctions will force Germany to comply with EU online gambling directives.
Responsible Sports Betting
Responsible betting is crucial. A “professional” punter, known to your author, recently lost thousands playing the Euro 2008 betting odds, exhausting his betting bank and a lot more besides.The majority of online layers are committed to promoting responsible wagering as well as encouraging recognition of problem gambling. Many online bookmakers have incorporated tools into their websites to prevent problem gambling. These include limits on daily and / or monthly spending, self-exclusion tools and protection against underage access. Help and advice on responsible sports betting can be found at www.gambleaware.co.uk.