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Interview with Dr. Wulf Hambach: The licensing model is the best way for Europe

June 5, 2009 2009

published on gamespectrum.bg, 2009-04-01

In your opinion, how should online gaming be regulated?

I think the licensing model is the best way for Europe. If we have 27 different licensing regimes there would be no problem for the offline world to regulate those 27 different jurisdictions but when it comes to online cross border and gaming, the best would be to have a licensing regime, which partially recognizes the existing licenses. So that’s the best way for taxation on one side and, on the other, the control body needs to be in the country where the license originates, for example Gibraltar, Malta.

Do you recognise any regulatory model for online gaming as a good one and what are its main features?

I think the UK model is most favourable but unfortunately the tax rate there is too high so that a lot of companies will not stay in the UK. However a very good thing is the UK still controls existing licenses by a white list approach, especially when it comes to advertising. So if an operator who comes from Alderney, for example wants to advertise in the UK, the UK regulator will look at the advertising restrictions and find out that Alderney is white listed, so the operator’s license shall be fully recognized and he is allowed to advertise. However the UK Gambling Commission and the Advertising department can still control advertising.

How can the player and the legitimate interests of the operators and the state be protected in online gaming?

Definitely by strong a strong legal framework and by taxation that is leading the fight against gaming addiction. On one hand the gaming taxation office collecting money has to be sure that there are enough funds allocated to projects for fighting gaming addiction. On the other hand, the operators need to be controlled with respect to fraud prevention. At the moment I think that existing EU jurisdictions and the fraud legislation standards are at a very high level. The other thing the operators should assure is that one player is not harming the others by manipulating software or using pots, poker rooms etc. in an Online Poker room for example. The gaming regulator should take care that the operators themselves implement enough measures to achieve enough protection.

How do you see the future of online gaming?

Right now there is always going be a struggle between the states for their interest into collecting money from the gaming sector. This interest will last for the next years also. Most of the European countries will offer a licensing regime, like Italy and Spain for example. This is the trend that cannot be stopped when we come to Internet gaming. The monopoly approach or total Internet gambling ban is not the future.

For further informations please see the website of gamespectrum.bg

Wulf Hambach

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