Thursday, 21 November 2013

Restrictions on hazard

Online gambling is quite a controversial service in Europe. In general, European countries are allowed to put restrictions on provision of online gambling within their borders, due to public interest objectives (such as consumer protection, fraud prevention etc.). However, the justification for applying such restrictions needs to be real and concrete, and applied consistently, since otherwise freedom of provision of services within EU should prevail (see e.g. out post on recent AG's opinion in the CJEU case Pfleger). During the last year, the European Commission was evaluating current national provisions restricting online gambling. Yesterday, it was announced that at the moment Sweden does not apply its national restrictions systematically. While national rules give exclusive rights to certain service providers for providing online betting services and online poker services, the compliance with these restrictions is questionable (at the same time, Finland was seen as properly having enforced compliance). Some other countries were asked to provide more information on possible restrictions and licensing procedures with regards to online gambling services. (see more: Commission requests Member States to comply with EU law when regulating gambling services)

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