SP: European policy on gambling: 'Don't bet on profit – play it safe'

11 February 2010

SP: European policy on gambling: 'Don't bet on profit – play it safe'

The SP in the European Parliament today declared its firm opposition to a free market approach to online gambling. Group leader Dennis de Jong said: "Gambling generally means forking out, because, as a gambler, for the most part you lose. It has far too romantic an image, but especially for young people, becoming addicted is a real threat. Not only that, but gambling is a multi-billion euro business which is too often associated with criminal activities. We shouldn't be gambling on profit, but playing it safe."

Dennis de JongThe European Commission has been trying for a number of years to have gambling seen as just another service sector. Time and again the Commission has been trumped, however, by the European Court of Justice, which recognises that gambling carries the risk of addiction. The SP wants to see consumer protection, and not the encouragement of gambling firms, take precedence in the European approach, and the member states given, in addition, maximum freedom to take measures to deal with online gambling. This must be the starting point for the consultative Green Paper on the issue that European Commissioner Michel Barnier recently announced he would shortly be producing.

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