EU Court Turns Down Hungarian Online Gambling Request

Staff Writer Industry News 1,142

The appeal that the Hungarian government recently lodged has once again been ruled by the European Court of Justice.

Namely, the request included requiring that all operators should have a land-based casino before getting the license to launch an online one. The Court wrote off the appeal of the Central European country as a clear violation of EU law.

Article 56

As defined under Article 56 of the EU Treaty, “restrictions on freedom to provide services within the Union shall be prohibited in respect of nationals of Member States”, which automatically renders the appeal invalid. In other words, providing services within the European Union is lawful, gambling and iGaming included.

Naturally, the European Gaming and Betting Association saluted the ruling, as it stands even stronger now that it has been reinforced by the previous judgement issued by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). According to the betting organisation, it “is a significant step in providing further legal clarity to online gambling regulation in Europe.”

It is now a decision to be made by the Hungarian Court regarding the current system and some online gambling products being subject to a monopoly. Strictly speaking, the Court’s task is to resolve the situation by determining whether the system fulfill public policy objectives in a consistent and systematic manner.

As mentioned above, the new ruling serves as confirmation to the preliminary decision.

Member States attempting to block the flow of services within the Union is not in consonance with the politics of Europe. In like manner, Member States cannot bring any administrative sanctions such as fines and blocking measures against EU-licensed online gaming operators.

Maarten Haijer, secretary general of EGBA, has declared that the judgement passed by the CJEU is clear, and that no Member State could require an offline activity as a condition for an online gambling venue to operate undisturbedly, as it would conflict with the EU law.

Haijer also expressed happiness that discrimination against operators is finally being pushed back.

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