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In one fell swoop, it appears that the path to regulated online poker for Europeans is shorter now than it is for Americans. Jurgen Creutzmann, a German MEP (Member of European Parliament) has drafted a report recommending a common and accepted collection of laws for online gambling, to help support consumer protection. This proposal would allow for cooperative regulation of online gaming, at an international level, among European Union countries. In short, the aim is for overarching regulations for all of the EU nations as a whole. This is quite a different approach than the multiple, current pending U.S. online gambling bills that are still being debated and reviewed.

This European Parliament resolution is a large step in the right direction. It was met with praise by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) – a prominent organization in the global online gambling industry. Like the American Gaming Association, their primary goals are for responsible gambling and consumer protection. Of the resolution, the RGA applauds the efforts of the European Parliament, especially the aspect that insists on centralized, non-discriminatory licensing procedures, which would “avoid unnecessary duplication of requirements and controls carried out in member states.” In layman’s terms, this would mean a treaty for open online gambling markets within the EU, including legal troubles for Member States who restrict access to their gambling markets.

This comes as a bit of a surprise, as up until now the EU had gone with the flow, allowing each country to set their own stance on the legality of online gaming. Most countries in the EU currently do not have regulated online gambling laws. France and Italy are two of the few countries that have recently regulated online gambling within their own borders. Their efforts at regulation haven’t been all that successful, however.

Some French online poker websites have had to close down, reportedly due to the high costs of buying a license and the 2% tax levied upon the site operators. This 2% tax comes off the top of every pot and tournament buy-in. These costs were passed on to the players, making the rake on the French site extremely high rake compared to other sites. Effectively this extra gross 2% tax increased the rake by at least 40% on cash games and at least 20% on tournaments.

There is still a long ways to go before we might see regulated poker across the whole European Union. With so many countries affected, this proposal will likely take a very long time before it’s able to become a proper bill. It will then need to be approved by the majority of the 736 members of elected Parliament, originating from more than two dozen different EU countries.