Press Releases OPAP

European Lotteries Press Release

“View of the administration, not of the judge” –
European Lotteries confident of outcome of infringement proceedings
 in the gambling sector
21 March 2007– Today the European Commission formally reiterated its view, in a reasoned opinion, that gambling laws in Denmark, Finland and Hungary would infringe EU internal market principles. The German, Dutch and Swedish cases remain in the first stage of proceedings, during which the European Commission asks Member States to provide information.
The President of European Lotteries (EL), Dr. Winfried Wortmann said: “I am confident that EU Member States will prove the regulatory validity surrounding gambling in their respective jurisdictions. What we are being presented with today is the view of the administration, the European Commission, not the final decision of the judge, which is the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Only two weeks ago, the ECJ once again recognised, in its Placanica judgement, the right of Member States to restrict the offer of gambling services and the number of operators on their territory if justified by reasons of overriding general interest such as consumer protection, the prevention of both fraud and incitement to squander on gaming, as well as the general need to preserve public order. Only one week ago, the EFTA Court dismissed an infringement case brought forward by the European Commission’s EFTA counterpart, expressedly upholding Norway’s gambling monopoly.”
Dr. Wortmann expressed the expectation that the European Commission would reconsider its approach of looking at gambling from a pure internal market perspective and enter into a “full picture dialogue“ with Member States and the Lotteries which includes the numerous social implications of gambling recognised by the ECJ and beyond.
European Lotteries (EL) is the association of the European state lotteries and sports betting companies and represents 74 organisations across Europe.