Prohibition of Cross-Border Gambling in Breach of EU law

In its preliminary ruling of the 12th of September 2013, in the joined Italian cases Biasci et al (C-660/11ea), the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has once again confirmed that the EU principles of freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services (Articles 43 EC and Article 49 EC) also apply to cross-border gambling. The cases at hand regard the access of operators established outside Italy to Italian licences.

The CJEU ruled that EU Member States restricting national gambling markets in order to favour the economic interest of incumbents over operators licensed in other Member States is against EU law. Furthermore, national legislation which precludes all cross-border activity in the betting and gaming sector, irrespective of the form in which that activity is undertaken, is contrary to Articles 43 EC and 49 EC.

It was also added by the CJEU that: “Articles 43 EC and 49 EC must be interpreted as meaning that, under the current state of EU law, the fact that an operator holds, in the Member State in which it is established, an authorisation permitting it to offer betting and gaming does not prevent another Member State, while complying with the requirements of EU law, from making such a provider offering such services to consumers in its territory subject to the holding of an authorization issued by its own authorities.”