EUROPEAN COURT ADVOCATE GENERAL CRITICAL OF GERMAN ONLINE GAMBLING LAWS
22nd October, 2015 at 16:52:16
AG says that laws should be transparent, non-discriminatory and compliant with EU law.
The influential European Court of Justice Advocate General has issued a report critical of Germany's confusing online gambling laws, opining that such legislation should be transparent, non-discriminatory and compliant with EU law.
Advocate General Szpunar's opinion follows a ruling of the Higher Administrative Court in Hesse of 16 October suspending the granting of licenses under the German Interstate Treaty on Gambling (see previous report).
The European Commission has asked similar questions to the German Lšnder (provinces) and must now consider opening formal infringement proceedings against the German gambling legislation.
The AG's assessment was based on the Ince case (C-336/14) - a rejection of the licence application of an Austrian company for a German sports betting license.
The local German court asked the CJEU preliminary questions regarding the non-transparent and discriminatory licensing system that has been in place since 2012, however, on the basis of which not a single licence has been issued to date.
In his opinion the AG confirms settled CJEU case-law on the primacy of EU law and on the non-applicability of sanctions (Placanica). The AG maintains that where "a monopoly on sports betting is contrary to EU law, Article 56 TFEU precludes national criminal prosecution authorities from penalising [operators] licensed in another Member States."
AG Szpunar clearly states that, while the Concessions Directive 2014/23/EU does not apply to the German tender at issue, its general principles "may serve as a source of inspiration and guidance
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