Volume 48 (2011) / Issue 4
In a series of recent judgments, the Court of Justice has developed its approach to games of chance and online gambling. It has made it clear it will not use the EU free movement of services provisions to liberalize the internal market for games of chance. Member States are given a remarkable discretion to regulate gambling services. To this end, the Court applies its standard test for restrictions very flexibly, including even an interesting moral strand, on the basis of overriding reasons in the general interest and objectives of combating fraud and gambling addiction. The remaining scrutiny is essentially left to the national courts. As far as the award of licences is concerned, the requirements of transparency are applied more strictly, which may have a significant impact on market access. This contribution provides a thorough analysis of the EU framework now in place for games of chance. In addition, it proposes some general guidelines for the needed political, legislative activity at the EU level. Such activity could enhance both revenue and Member State control over gambling services, whilst allowing cooperation between them to achieve their individual objectives.
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