EU Court Ruling Bolsters Member States Gambling Aspirations
Being a member of the European Union has its advantages as there are built-in principles that are applicable to all member states. This basic notion is very relevant to the field of competition which is strictly regulate. Online gambling from offshore operators has been a controversial topic in the last few months with Britain looking to tax theses operators next year the same as British based operators. As we mentioned at the time opponents to these proposed changes plan on taking the British Government to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). Their argument is based on the premise that the principles of freedom of establishment to provide services also apply to cross-border gambling.
A recent ruling in the case of Biasci et al against Italy in the CJEU has reaffirmed this principle which in effect means that EU member states who attempt to restrict national gambling markets while denying other EU member licenced operators are acting against EU law. The CJEU went even further in stating that any legislation which precludes cross-border gambling activity is also in contravention of EU law.
The articles quoted to support the ruling were Articles 43 EC and 49 EC which supported both the aspect of legislation as well as the aspect of an operator that holds a licence in the member state to offer betting from another betting state. In other words according to this ruling all EU members come under a single regulatory umbrella which means that as long as they comply with EU requirements, no member states can enjoy an unfair advantage from that of their counterparts.
We will follow the progress of this case as it is the exact argument that is set to be used by many other EU countries and gambling operators who are looking to expand and enjoy the benefits of a regulated gambling industry.