Is the ECJ Opinion a Win for Online Gambling?

By Debra SaundersGoogle

It has been bad news for the online gambling industry as Europe moves towards legislation by individual countries rather than one governing legislation for everyone.  This affects the ability the online gambling industry has to effectively move their goods and services between countries.  A published opinion from the ECJ (European Court of Justice) may change that.  The opinion was from Advocate General Cruz Villalon.

The opinion states that licensing systems must be in agreement with the Treaty, which requires the supply of goods and services to be equal across all of the countries.  This opinion is in response to the gambling operator Stanleybet from Britain trying to get access to the Italian market.  Stanleybet claims that the Italian gambling law favors some companies that were licensed when others had been excluded.

It was stated in the opinion that if a country creates legislation that restricts gambling services between countries, it must be nondiscriminatory.  To allow some licenses and refuse others is in direct opposition to the Treaty.  The European Court of Justice has not set a date to rule on the case.

A positive reaction was immediate from the EGBA, which is the representative of online gambling operators.  He felt that the ECJ needed to create legislation that follows the Treaty because it would be impossible for online operators to go to the ECJ for each individual issue.  It is the basis of the Treaty that a licensed operator should be able to offer their products to other countries, according to the director of the EGBA.


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