Press Releases OPAP

European Lotteries applaud recent decision of European Parliament

16 February 2006
European Lotteries applaud decision of European Parliament to exclude gambling from the Services Directive
Today, during its plenary session in Strasbourg, the European Parliament voted with a clear majority to exclude all gambling activities from the scope of the Services Directive.
With this vote, Members of the European Parliament show that they recognise that gambling is not suitable for an internal market approach because of its particular health and social dimension and its sensitivity to criminal risks and problems. The exclusion of gambling fully respects the specific nature of gambling services.
The Members of the European Parliament followed the lead of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection who had already voted to exclude gambling in a preliminary vote, in line with the proposal by rapporteur Evelyne Gebhardt.
The original Commission proposal would have abolished existing restrictions and would in the end have led to an unwanted liberalisation of the European gambling sector.
European Lotteries has always warned of the dangers inherent in the liberalisation of the gambling sector. It would result in an unwanted proliferation of problem gambling, increase the social and health costs for society and lead to a substantial distortion of public order in the Member States.
Dr. Winfried Wortmann, President of European Lotteries: “I am very pleased that Lotteries and Sportsbetting have such broad support among Members of the European Parliament. In addition to the sensitivity and specificity of the gambling sector, Members of the European Parliament also understand the key role Lotteries play all over Europe as important contributors to several sectors in civil society such as health care, environment, nature, heritage, culture, sports, welfare, humanitarian aid, education and research. Lotteries donate the money that would otherwise have been economically ‘lost’ and distribute the profit to organisations that work at improving our European society.”
European Lotteries hope that the revised Commission proposal on the Services Directive, which is due in the next months, will take into account this clear signal from the European Parliament and exclude gambling entirely from the scope of the Services Directive.
European Lotteries is the association of the European state lotteries and toto companies representing 74 organisations across Europe.