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Proposed changes to Finnish lotteries act raise EC’s concerns

February 16, 2009 2009

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed the the European Commission’s decision to issue formal Comments against the proposed changes to the Finnish lotteries act.

Comments issued by the European Commission in the context of the notification procedure mean that it considers that the text submitted raises issues or requires further details for clarified interpretation.

According to the Association, these changes, if implemented, would increase the extent of the breach of EU law that is already the subject of an EC infringement procedure.

The EGBA highlighted that the new draft provisions introduce even further restrictions on indirect marketing of gambling services for operators without a Finnish licence, as well as fines and prison sentences of up to two years for both media and online gaming companies operating or marketing such activities. These additional restrictions are, however, not aimed at enhancing consumer protection in a consistent and systematic manner as they will not apply to the Finnish government’s own gambling activities which will still be allowed to conduct extensive and aggressive marketing campaigns.

Sigrid Ligné, EGBA Secretary General, said, “This shows all too clearly that the Finnish authorities have for the past two years – during which the Commission has been delaying Finland’s referral to the ECJ – enhanced their protectionist legislation rather than removed it.”

“The Commission’s patience has clearly not paid off. We now call on the Guardian of the Treaty to defend our rights and to bring Finland to the ECJ.”


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