The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has reiterated its stance on the European gambling market, stressing that countries cannot restrict their own market to protect national companies. The ruling comes as changes are being discussed in UK gambling laws, as well as in other states across the Union.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has announced itself happy with this underlining of the EU stance on national monopolies, but will still be hoping that this is backed up in countries such as Greece and Romania, where restrictive regulations have been in place for a number of years without firm EU recourse.
This reiteration of CJEU’s stance comes at a key time for the gambling world, as mobile casinos take off across the EU. With changes afoot amongst major player players as well as newcomers, the last thing the EGBA wanted was more regulative red tape to work through.
The statement came as part of a preliminary hearing into the case of ‘Biasci et al’, and a CJEU statement read: “National legislation, which in fact precludes all cross-border activity in the betting in gaming sector, irrespective of the form in which that activity is undertaken… is contrary to Articles 43 EC and 49 EC.”
With Italy also hitting the gambling news with a bill to ban online gambling passing through parliament – despite opposition from the Ministry of Finance – this ruling couldn’t come at a more necessary time for operators.
EGBA secretary general, Maarten Haijer, was pleased with the court’s judgment so far: “We very much welcome the court’s crystal clear conclusion that Member States cannot preclude cross border gambling activities in the EU,” adding later: “It confirms the CJEU’s regulatory ‘red lines’ which member states cannot be allowed to cross. The time has come for the Commission to enforce those red lines in Member States’ national law – if needed through infringement proceedings.”