EU Laws Take Precedence over National Gambling Laws
Yesterday the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) made a land-mark decision in a case between the German company Winner Wetten and German city Bergheim. The company accepts bets from German players on behalf of a Malta-based gambling company, in violation with the current German gambling laws.
German Gambling Legislation
The current treatment of online gambling in Germany was at least to say problematic, as several German provinces are uncertain as to adhere to the federal gambling laws. Nevertheless the Major of the city Bergheim was determined to take action against Winner Wetten, effectively prohibiting it from performing its sports book operations.
After having filed an unsuccessful complaint Winner Wetten brought the case before the Cologne Administrative Court. Although it was undisputed that the German gambling laws were undesirable, the Court ruled that the existing legal situation was to be maintained in order to avert a legal vacuum.
Opinion of EU Advocate General
Yesterday Advocate General Yves Bot handed down his opinion on the case against the German sports book monopoly. According to him the current German legislation is in violation with the EU principle of free trade, and is an unjustified restriction not in the best interest of the European consumers.
Preventing companies like Winner Wetten from providing online gambling services is incompatible with EU law, and cannot be condoned even when it is for the purpose of preventing a legal vacuum. In such cases EU law always takes precedence over national gambling laws, with no exceptions.