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Private-Public Clash on Gambling

19 Sep 2006

LONDON, England -- As reported by the International Herald Tribune: "The detention of the heads of an Austrian online gambling company by French authorities has raised the stakes in a Europe-wide battle between lucrative state-sponsored betting monopolies and their upstart rivals on the Internet, raising eyebrows at the European Commission in Brussels.

"...The move followed the recent arrests of two British online gambling executives in the United States... In Europe, online gambling operators have relied on a patchy legal and regulatory framework to expand their activities.

"...The move has attracted the attention of the European Commission, which has been investigating the gambling monopolies of several European Union member states, following complaints that national policies discriminate against private-sector operators like Bwin.

"...The commission in April began infringement proceedings against seven EU countries - Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden - over what it sees as unfair restrictions on private-sector sports- betting operators.

"...Some governments, led by Britain, have responded to the explosive growth of Internet gambling by embracing it..."

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