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The importance for harmonisation of European Union i-gaming laws has been longed for for several years. However, due the various affairs of member states, EU Member States have not yet been able to reach an agreement on the harmonisation of gaming law in order to themselves be able to nationally regulate i-gaming in conformity with EU law. Each member state is allowed to regulate i-gaming as it deems appropriate due to the subsidiarity principle. Most of the states, including Malta, have taken an open-market approach on EU i-gaming regulation and have held that i-gaming is a service in terms of the EU Treaty. 

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Member States joining the Union agree to provide for the free movement of goods and services across EU Member State borders, but ECJ rules that a Member State can restrict the cross-border provision of gambling services into its own country. Gambling is one of the unique areas where Internal Market rules are put into question. Since I-gaming is a borderless activity, not being tied to any particular territory or jurisdiction, this gives rise to difficulties in establishing which jurisdiction should regulate such activity.

Due to the fact that i-gaming is an international concept, taking a national approach is ineffective and the laws governing it should also be international. If such law is absent, gamblers within the European Union shift their business, operating from non-member states. As a consequence, proceeds drift out of the union to jurisdictions where gambling could be unjust, without any control on criminal infiltration and no regard for the well being of the consumers. Because of this, the best option is to give gamblers various thorough regulated possibilities within Europe. Even if there is still no common law on EU i-gaming, the internal market freedoms set out in the EU Treaty are directly effective, granting access to the national markets. 

Gambling services are covered by EC Treaty under the freedom to provide services Article 49 and the third Anti-Money Laundering Directive (2005/60/EC), but there is no secondary legislation. Two models of national regulations are applied in gambling: one based on licensed operators working in a regulated framework, and another on controlled monopoly, both coexisting within the Internal Market due to restricted chance of selling gambling services across borders in the past.

National regulation mustn’t be discriminatory and Member States are not to adopt any regulatory procedures that disadvantage operators licensed in another EU member state. Discrimination on the basis of nationality could be of various forms, such as laws excluding operators from gambling national market because their shares are quoted in the stock market to the contrasting tax treatment for oversea lotteries in respect to the national ones. Whether or not such a law is regarded as discriminatory, the ECJ still demands a proportionality analysis. The Advocate General on ‘Gambelli’ confirmed that legislation has to be justified by requirements in the general interest; must be acceptable for securing achievement of the objective which they pursue; and they must not go beyond what is required in order to attain it. 
Moreover, national restrictions on online gambling which don’t contribute to restraining betting activities in a continuous and structured manner are incompatible with the freedom of establishment and with freedom to provide service. In’Winner Wetten GmbH’, public monopoly on bets on sporting competitions in the Westfalen was regarded as opposing to freedom to provide services established by Article 49 EC. A restrictive measure such as monopoly cannot be justified by reference to the supposed aim of preventing encouragement of unrestrained spending on gambling, as it’s uncontested that participation in bets in sporting competitions is endorsed by the national authorities organising these bets and therefore, this measure does not contribute to limiting betting activities in a continuous and structured manner.
Finally, either the ‘open’ licenses systems in which every operator, as long as one fulfils the requirements provided by the relevant national law, has the right of access to the national gambling market, or the ‘closed’ licenses system in which only one of the few licenses provided have to be ruled by the principle of transparency. This implies that potential tenderers have the right to know in advance and in a precise, clear and unequivocal way the relevant information regarding all conditions and procedural rules. As a result, the ECJ held illegitimate the decision of Italian Government to renew existing licenses without inviting competing bids on the basis that it is not granted for the benefit of any potential tenderer, a degree of advertising sufficient to enable the service concession to be opened up to competition and the impartiality of procurement procedures to be reviewed. 
In the beginning, local authoritative bodies tried to impose limitation on i-gaming activities involving their nationals to safeguard state monopolies. Case law provided by the European Court of Justice has made efforts to bring down these local limitations hampering the fundamental principle of free movement of services. Due to the fact that harmonised decision has not been reached regarding the EU i-gaming regulations, the European Court of Justice has delivered various jurisprudence upon the conformity with European law of domestic laws in the area of EU i-gaming activities, allowing restrictions on the ground of public interest. In Zenatti, ECJ sent the case back to a national court of Italy to confirm whether the restricted issuing of gambling licences was truly aimed at achieving social and consumer protection goals, or whether gambling had been legalised to collect money for the government. 
The European i-gaming panorama has been evolving regulations regarding i-gaming in several member states based upon the country of destination principle as contrary to the country of origin principle. Whilst member states like Malta opt for the latter, stipulating a regulation for operators relying on place of establishment of operators themselves, the country of destination principle is obtaining popularity in countries’ legal system including France and Spain. These member states endorse the regulation that a license is a required necessity in the jurisdiction where the customer is established.
In the last recent years various jurisdictions within the European Union have put forward licensing regimes, moving the i-gaming sector closer to a more regulated market. This increased the confidence in the European i-gaming industry over other jurisdictions located outside the EU, such as the US. Operators within the EU have to keep updated with regard to the varying technical standards in each European jurisdiction. Due to the continuous evolving of technology, which plays a major role within this industry, the various rules and regulations governing the sector are also evolving, creating new regulatory conditions that need to be taken into consideration. Technology is reshaping and transforming the perspectives of parties participating within the i-gaming industry, increasing the necessity for new laws and regulations. It’s within this context that iGaming operators have to continuously revise the regulatory situation within Europe, keeping up with new trends within the jurisdictions able to affect their operations.
According to a recent Communication by the European Commission towards a comprehensive European framework for online gambling, the increased supply of on-line gambling services together with internet development and their implications for each Member State, have made it more difficult for national regulatory models to co-exist. Due to the fact that national rules lack enforcement, it’s not possible for Member States to effectively tackle them alone and to provide individually a regulated and safe offer of online gambling services. 
The Commission recommends the setting up of gambling regulatory authorities with clear competences able to implement an effective system of enforcement with preventive measures minimising the preliminary contact of citizens with cross – border online gambling services or with responsive measures by stopping payments and restricting entry to unauthorised gambling websites. The Commission didn’t opt for the main regulatory options regarding e-gambling in European context, being mutual harmonisation or mutual recognition. Regarding the first one, a gaming operator once in accordance with own country procedures, is able to freely provide services to all member states, as the system of mutual recognition of local authorizations and licenses would be settled at EU level; one the other hand, harmonization strategy shows that common European Union rules replacing all different national regulatory solutions. The Commission has preferred an approach fostering a stronger administrative cooperation between member states, shared information, best practices, exchange of personal data conforming with national and EU rules as mutual recognition of national authorisations, enhancing trust between countries.
It’s proven that whether iGaming is regulated or not it will still exist and people will still keep on playing online. The solution is to regulate iGaming as Malta decided to do in 2004. Recently states such as Spain and the Netherlands have opened their markets offering the faculty to operators in obtaining an iGaming licence. Important to provide consumers with serious and reasonable regulations by which they feel protected. Harmonisation of EU iGaming regulations would establish mutual consumer protection rules irrelevant of where they play within the European Union, promoting greater cooperation among member states.