10 SEP 2010
By Liegh Phillips
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Austria's restrictions on gambling hall ownership have been ruled illegal by Europe's top court.
On Thursday (9 September), the European Court of Justice found that the country's rules that ban firms that are not headquartered in Austria from operating such establishments was in breach of European Union law.
Currently, the government controls the gambling sector although there is no public monopoly. Vienna has provided licences to 12 private gambling halls.
The ECJ however ruled that the the restriction "discriminates against companies which have their seat in another member state" and "is disproportionate, as it goes beyond what is necessary to combat crime," according to a statement from the Luxembourg-based institution.
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