09 SEP 2010
By Valentina Pop | EUobserver
In a landmark ruling that may "ruin" German state lotteries and bring in big gains for private betting companies, the EU's top court said that the current state monopoly on gambling is "unjustifiable" and in breach of EU law.
The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg said on Wednesday (8 September) that Germany had undermined its consumer-protection argument by letting state-run gambling companies engage in "intensive advertising campaigns" and by permitting a proliferation of automated gambling machines, which the court said were highly addictive.
"In such circumstances, the preventive objective of that monopoly can no longer be pursued, so that the monopoly ceases to be justifiable," the court said.
The top court also said Germany's national legislation on gambling is "contrary to the fundamental freedoms of the EU" and its provisions "cannot continue to apply during the time necessary to bring it into conformity with union law."
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Austria's Curbs on Casinos Are Unlawful, European Union's Top Court Says