Odds: Gambling, Law and Strategy in the European Union

By Kaburakis, Anastasios; Rodenberg, Ryan M. | Business Law International, January 2012 | Go to article overview

Odds: Gambling, Law and Strategy in the European Union


Kaburakis, Anastasios, Rodenberg, Ryan M., Business Law International


Contemporary business law contributions argue that legal knowledge or 'legal astuteness' can lead to a sustainable competitive advantage.1 Past meses and treatises have led more academic research to endeavour the confluence between law and strategy.2 European scholars have engaged in the Proactive Law Movement, recendy adopted and incorporated into policy by the European Commission.3 As such, the 'many futures of legal strategy' provide both fodder for academic inquiry and an important facet of business executives' and future managers' strategic arsenal.4

The importance of legal research and related regulatory policy analysis as outlined in the above theoretical approaches is patent in any industry (recent samples from the aforementioned works include healthcare and insurance, finance and investment banking, mass communications and technology, food and drug administration, airlines and others) . Yet pertinent research has paid almost no attention to the industry arguably most affected by law and legislative trends, gambling. Gambling is broadly defined as the chance to win a prize for a price.5 The gambling or gaming industry (terms encountered interchangeably among international scholars) encapsulates three components: the lottery market, the betting market, and casinos and video lottery games.6 In an industry with estimated revenue of approximately a quarter trillion US dollars globally in 2008,7 popular media and practitioners frequently comment that the illegal transactions taking place beyond the regulated borders of the industry amount to several billions more .8 It is thus imperative to identify the means by which legal and policy research can provide significant contributions to gambling firms' managers, regulators and the many stakeholders who populate this increasingly regulated industry.

The European Union (EU) economic zone is the highest revenue generator for the regulated gambling industry, and the most volatile owing to its multitude of legal systems.9 Several key corporations in global gaming, for example William Hill, Stanley Betting, Betfair and Ladbrokes, have headquarters in the EU, in the UIC, Gibraltar, Malta or other jurisdictions with favourable regulatory frameworks. Considering the expansion of internet-based clientele for EU gambling operators beyond the borders of the EU, it is particularly important to explain the present legal conditions in Europe.10 EU Member States' traditionally established restrictions mostly precluded firms from expanding operations such as online gambling, sport betting and developing regional points of contact to consumers (from major casino entertainment facilities to small licensed betting offices) . Subsequent to significant progress towards the realisation of a European common market, EU states' authorities are charged with applying fundamental principles of European law such as die freedom to provide services, die freedom of establishment and fair competition to the gambling industry. Restrictions may be challenged before national courts and the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has frequently heard cases referred to it by Member States' courts. Currently, gambling services may be one of me most dynamic areas of EU policy, and legal strategists may provide meaningful value to gambling operators at times of legal and economic uncertainty.

Theory

In the several conceptual frameworks describing the law as strategy stream (key representations in Figures 1-4) , fundamental legal concepts operate as key drivers of strategy towards sustainable competitive advantage. In the basic model presented in Figure 1, Siedel presents die underpinnings of business decision-making as legal, ethical and economic in nature, the cornerstone principles that affect an executive's decision and shift the course of strategy for a firm.11

In Figure 2, Bird expands on the resource-based view theory, complementing his sustainable competitive advantage model with perceptual prerequisites. …

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