EC Reportedly Examining the Legality of French Gambling Policy

19 September 2006

Citing an unnamed EU official, AFX reported this morning that France will be among the latest additions to a list of seven EU member states under investigation by the European Commission (EC) for allegedly violating Article 49 of the EC Treaty, which guarantees the free movement of services.

The news comes shortly after a spokesman for EU Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy announced that eight to 10 additional EU member states could be in violation of Article 49, which means the investigation may span anywhere between eight and 17 countries.

The source indicated that the decision to investigate France was made "a few days ago" by the EU executive's internal market services.

A decision on whether France's domestic policies toward gambling are deemed to be illegal by the EC would presumably influence the outcome of the case the country's government is mounting against bwin's co-CEOs, Manfred Bodner and Norbert Teufelberger. Both were detained last week by French authorities for their alleged contravention of domestic gaming laws and were due to go before the court today.