The political economy of online gambling in the European Union

Abstract

The neoliberal “free-market” exportation strategies of online gambling used by countries like Malta and jurisdictions such as Gibraltar collided with the so-called “embedded liberal” or “protectionist” models of the Nordic and “core” Member States of the European Union at the early 2000s. Instead of analyzing this dispute as an inter-national or inter-state dispute, the research community has largely portrayed it as a dispute concerning the vertical division of competences between the EU institutions and the Member States. Albeit a feature in this dispute, this viewpoint does not catch the essence of the dispute which arises out of these different gambling-related politico-economic strategies which were also coupled with various strategies at the EU level: 1) the neoliberal Member States and the “for profit” operators tried to get the Commission and the EU Court to assist them in their cause, i.e. the liberalization of gambling markets across the EU by attempting to force the “protectionist” Member States to accept mutual recognition and the country of origin principle; 2) the “embedded liberal” or “protectionist” Member States and their state-owned operators turned to the EU Parliament, the EU Council and Council of Europe in an effort to halt the liberalization process and to keep gambling from de jure entering the Single Market program by emphasizing the subsidiarity principle and the country of origin principle. It is this entire dynamic that I have analyzed in my PhD thesis that I will be defending in 2016.

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