The case at hand dealt with the question whether the successful multi-license regulation for online gambling operators in SH can exist side by side with the highly restrictive Inter State Treaty adopted jointly by the Länder. The CJEU has concluded that having two different licensing systems in a federal state is not necessarily against EU law.
Today’s ruling, however, does not declare the German Inter State Treaty in compliance with EU law, which is subject to another pending CJEU case. The two-year grace period granted by the European Commission to Germany for making its Inter State Treaty work will expire on 1 July 2014. As not a single sports betting license has been granted under the Inter State Treaty over the past two years, the Treaty’s lack of viability and Germany’s failure to achieve its own goals are evident.
EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer comments: “The Interstate Treaty has evidently been a failure for Germany. The Schleswig-Holstein model has demonstrated over the last years that it can offer a reliable and safe gambling regulation for both operators and consumers. Other Länder should follow the example of not only Schleswig-Holstein but also successful regulatory models of EU Member States like Denmark or Spain, as the Netherlands did.”
Mr. Haijer further adds: “The two year-deadline the Commission granted Germany to prove that the Inter State Treaty is viable and in line with EU law expires within a month. As no sports betting license has been granted it is clear that this will not be possible and we call on the Commission to properly enforce EU law in Germany and open an infringement case for failure to comply with EU law”.
Background information on the case
On 24 January 2013, the German Supreme Court referred questions to the CJEU that arose during ongoing proceedings in which a private online gambling operator prosecuted for the exercise of its activities in the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia argued that the German system was contrary to Article 56 TFEU on the freedom to provide services. Previously, in the Markus Stoß, Carmen Media and Winner Wetten cases of September 2010, the CJEU already ruled on the German gambling system stating that it was inconsistent as comparatively harmless gaming was monopolized, while more risky forms of gaming were opened up to competition.
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