Thursday, 12 June 2014

Nein to online hazard - CJEU in Digibet and Albers (C-156/13)

12 June 2014: CJEU in case Digibet and Albers (C-156/13)

We've discussed previously a few Austrian cases where the CJEU was asked to evaluate various prohibitions and limitations in organisation of online gambling in this country (see e.g.: Austrian winners may still take it all). The case Digibet and Albers is a German one and concerns the same topic. Germany allows each federal state to regulate online games of chance and except for Schleswig-Holstein all other federal states prohibited the organisation and facilitation of online games of chance. The more liberal regulation of Schleswig-Holstein was recently repealed but for 13 months it was possible to organise and facilitate online games of chance, as well as advertise them, and the authorisations issued remain valid for a transitional period of several years. The question raised in this case was whether the liberal policy adopted by Schleswig-Holstein undermines the public policy's justification used by other federal states to prohibit online games of chances contrary to the freedom to provide services' principle. The CJEU states that this is not the case, and as long as German laws on games of chance are proportionate to the objective they pursue in limiting the freedom to provide services, which is for German courts to establish, they are compliant with EU law. (Par. 40-41)

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