European Powwow Examines Net Betting

10 June 2000
A recent meeting of the Gaming Regulators European Forum (GREF), comprised of gaming regulators from throughout Europe, covered Internet gaming issues and European Union developments. Fifty-two representatives from 20 European nations attended the May 12 meeting in Ljubljana.

A presentation by two regulators from Australia and the United States covered Internet gaming, the meeting's dominant subject. Following the presentation, the Forum agreed to study the topic further during a meeting of the GREF Working Party on Internet Gambling. The Working Party will meet concurrently with the European Association for the Study of Gambling (EASG) Congress, to be held in Warsaw September 21-23, 2000.

The Forum also discussed the consequences of decisions handed down by the Court of Justice of the European Union in the Finnish Laara case and the Italian Zenatti case. In both cases, the Court stated that the considerations set out in the Schindler ruling, related to the organization of lotteries, are equally applicable to other comparable forms of gambling, such as slot machines or sports betting. The two rulings also confirm that European Union member states are allowed to restrict or to ban certain gaming activities on their territory for reasons of public interest such as consumer protection, prevention of crime or the prevention of gambling addiction, and other social policies.

Additionaly, the Euro's introduction, sweepstakes and free games were also discussed. Christian Hess from Switzerland was elected to the GREF Executive Board. They wrapped up the meeting by agreeing to meet next year in Sweden.

An Internet site,, is being constructed to provide information about GREF and links to European gaming regulatory offices. The site should go live this autumn.