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The Need for Free Trade (part 2)

> read part one here:


Germany has the second largest market in the world, and the largest in Europe for online poker, but in Germany playing poker on the internet is illegal. There is a ban on all online gambling, except the exempt national state-owned lottery. It seems however that German ISPs don’t block the overseas online poker platforms, and they are not stopped from advertising for German players and have German software and German customer support.

The biggest spenders on poker in Europe compared with the number of internet users are in Hungary, which is another country where ‘international’ online poker has been banned.

Playing poker on the internet is illegal in Poland, interestingly Poland has the tenth largest gross market in Europe but only the twenty-six largest number of active players as a proportion of its population.

In Cyprus internet poker is unambiguously not allowed having been banned in 2012: Tiny Cyprus with only 433,800 internet users has the seventh largest proportional market in the EU as nearly 1.5% of them are regular online poker players.

Luxembourg has banned companies located there from offering online poker; although as there is no clarity regarding the legality of its residents accessing foreign sites to play, they are doing so.

The Netherlands has not issued a licence to anyone to offer their residents online poker so the Dutch only use foreign sites, and still have achieved the fourth largest gross market in Europe.

Breaking the law is never wise, as demonstrated by the US shut-down. Each European Union member has a unique culture, history and laws. For instance, online poker is currently accurately described as illegal in Great Britain, as it is not yet legal to play in Northern Ireland. Wearing the burqa & niqab in public is now illegal in France and Belgium, kosher and halal slaughter of animals is illegal in Sweden and Denmark.

The swastika is not allowed to be displayed in public in Germany, Hungary or Lithuania except for scholarly reasons, while in the UK it has been favoured fancy dress for royalty.

European Law does legislate against state-controlled monopolies and unfair barriers to free trade.

Governments must be able to tax operators and professional players. Many poker platforms wisely locate themselves in jurisdictions with the most favourable tax concessions, as do some of the professional players.

Consumers want an unprejudiced organisation to regulate online poker rooms, to demand integrity from them, to have the power to block their websites and take legal action against them when necessary and appropriate, and also fight corruption, money laundering and other criminal activity.

For this to work there must be co-operation and agreement between the different jurisdictions, hence European legislation is essential to ensure equality, fairness, and justice.

In conclusion it seems that the Lithuanians are the most enlightened of all Europeans, although internet gambling is illegal there, playing internet poker is 100% legal, as it is classified as a sport by their Parliament, being a game of skill, not a game of chance.

  • Richard M

    Nigel Farage with the BNP’s Tony “the bomber” Lecomber, and Mark Deavin, in 1997