Balkanization is a geopolitical term that refers to a state of fragmentation among several regions that refuse to cooperate with one another. Currently, the online gambling market across Europe is balkanized, and European Commission Michel Barnier hopes to remedy the situation.
Last year saw several European countries regulate their online gambling markets and 2011 will see many more. Despite the impressive growth and development of the European market as a whole, each country has its own ideas for how to go about regulating its market. This has created inconsistency across the board and many countries’ laws contradict others. In fact, many country’s rules and regulations disobey European Union requirements for free trade. This type of inconsistency creates a hostile environment for operators and politicians in Europe and Barnier hopes to harmonize the market in order to foster a support industry with healthy competition.
While most regulators have ignored the Commission’s pleas to correct their laws, Barnier has gained a great deal of support from politicians in several countries. Nicolas Sarkozy, for example, has demonstrated that he backs the Commission’s wishes. France was one of the countries to regulate online gambling last year and the country’s president believes that all European markets should be harmonized. With one major player on his side, Barnier hopes to attract others.