Playing it safe: the court of justice, the freedom to provide services and internet gambling

Storey, Tony (2012) Playing it safe: the court of justice, the freedom to provide services and internet gambling. In: British and Irish Law Education and Technology Association (BILETA) Conference 2012, 29-30 March 2012, Centre for Life, Newcastle upon Tyne.

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In the context of the freedom to provide services, under Article 56 TFEU, the traditional rule adopted by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has been to require Member States to mutually recognise each other’s national regulation – see for example Canal Satélite Digital (Case C-390/99) (2002). This means that, generally speaking, one Member State cannot make a service provider “subject to restrictions for safeguarding the public interest in so far as that interest is already safeguarded by the rules to which the provider is subject in the Member State where he is established”.

However, a different rule applies in the context of internet gambling. Here, the CJEU has held that, because of the particular dangers associated with this activity, mutual recognition is not required. In Santa Casa (Case C-42/07) (2009), the CJEU declared that the mere fact that an operator lawfully offered internet gambling services in one Member State, where it was “in principle already subject to statutory conditions and controls … cannot be regarded as amounting to a sufficient assurance” that consumers in another Member State “will be protected against the risks of fraud and crime”. In Dickinger & Ömer (Case C-347/09) (2011), the Court was invited to revisit this position, but instead confirmed its policy of applying a special rule to the regulation of internet gambling; the result being that the authorities in Austria did not have to recognise the controls imposed on the activities of internet gambling providers established in Malta.

This paper will review these and other CJEU cases involving the interaction of EU law on the freedom to provide services, on one hand, and national legislation controlling internet gambling, on the other, and will seek to discover what is so problematic about internet gambling that the CJEU has felt driven to apply a special rule in this context.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: M100 Law by area
Department: Faculties > Business and Law > Northumbria Law School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Tony Storey
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2012 09:56
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2019 00:39

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