The European Court of Justice Gives Hope to Online Gambling

12/11/2011
By Tommie ClarkGoogle

A published opinion from the General Advocate for the European Court of Justice (ECJ), Cruz Villalon has given hope to online gambling operators.  This is in opposition to the recent trends for operators towards more country-based legislation instead of one legislation for everyone.  Fragmenting the gambling industry makes it difficult to stay competitive by marketing their products between countries.  The opinion issued on October 27th, 2011, gives hope that things may change in the operators’ favor.

 

The opinion by Villalon stated that legislation governing licensing must follow the Treaty, which states that supply of goods and services must be equal across the borders.  This came about due to the issues that Stanleybet has had trying to access the market in Italy.  Stanleybet is a British gambling operator that had been unable to obtain an Italian license when other companies had been awarded licenses. 

 

Villalon states in his opinion that any country that denies licenses to some companies but not all is in violation with the Treaty.  If legislation is created to restrict online gambling licenses, it must be nondiscriminatory towards all companies and suitable.  The European Court of Justice will rule on this case but a date has not been announced.

 

The director of Regulatory Affairs at the European Gaming and Betting Association responded positively to this published opinion.  The EGBA is a representative body of online gambling operators.  The director sees this as a step in the right direction to creating gambling legislation that follows the rules set by the Treaty.  It would allow access to online operators to the markets available in other countries.

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