EC Requests Member States To Amend Gambling Laws

03 April 2007

CZECH BUSINESS
By: Judit Zegnál, 02. 04. 2007

In response to repeated complaints by online betting companies, the European Commission (EC) took action to put an end to the obstacles to sports betting services in Hungary, Denmark and Finland.

The EC formally requested these member states to amend their laws following consideration of their replies to letters of formal notice sent in April 2006, in which the EC sought to verify whether the countries’ restrictions are compatible with Article 49 of the EC Treaty, which guarantees the free movement of services.

“The Commission considers that the restrictions in question aren’t compatible with existing EU law,” the commission said in a March 21 statement. “Furthermore, existing national operators cannot be regarded as nonprofit operations, given that they are subject to strict annual revenue targets and often rely on commercial retail outlets to market their various gambling services.”

The formal requests take the form of “reasoned opinions,” the second stage of an infringement procedure. If there’s no satisfactory reply within two months, the EC may refer the matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

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