by Martin Arendts, M.B.L.-HSG
The Administrative Court of Giessen (Verwaltungsgericht Gießen) has reffered two more sports betting cases (interdiction orders against betting shops, tranferring bets to private bookmarks licensed in another EU member state) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) according to Article 234 EC Treaty. Earlier this year, the court already reffered a similar case to the ECJ (Markus Stoß v Wetteraukreis; Case C-316/07).
The two new cases have been filed as:
Avalon Service-Online-Dienste GmbH v Wetteraukreis (Case C-409/07) and
Olaf Amadeus Wilhelm Happel v Wetteraukreis (Case C-410/07).
Now, seven German sports betting cases are pending before the ECJ (one from Cologne, three each from Stuttgart and Giessen). As the Administrative Courts of Giessen and Stuttgart asked quite similar questions, it is quite likely that the ECJ will join these cases. A decision will probably be announcend in two or three years.
The Administrative Court of Giessen asked the ECJ following questions:
Are Articles 43 and 49 EC to be interpreted as precluding a national monopoly on certain gaming, such as sports betting, where there is no consistent and systematic policy to limit gaming in the Member State concerned as a whole, in particular because the operators which have been granted a licence within that Member State encourage participation in other gaming - such as State-run lotteries and casino games - and, moreover, other games with the same or a higher suspected potential danger of addiction - such as betting on certain sporting events (e.g. horse racing) and slot machines - may be provided by private service providers?
Are Articles 43 and 49 EC to be interpreted as meaning that authorisations to operate sports betting, granted by State bodies specifically designated for that purpose by the Member States, which are not restricted to the particular national territory, entitle the holder of the authorisation and third parties appointed by it to make and implement offers to conclude contracts also in other Member States without any additional national authorisations being required?