Austria’s gambling industry monopoly has been given a reprieve as the European Union’s Court of Justice (ECJ) gave it a ringing endorsement. The EU justified the country’s gaming monopoly as long as it fulfills certain criteria set out by the EU. The case came after a site set up by two Austrians, bet-at-home.com, was accused of breaking the country’s gaming laws as they hold Maltese licenses.
The ECJ ruled, “When assessing the proportionality of a monopoly, the national courts are not required to take into account the monitoring and control systems regulating companies established in another member state.
“A member state may legitimately wish to monitor an economic activity which is carried on in its territory, and that would be impossible if it had to rely on checks made by the authorities of another member state using regulatory systems outside its control.”
The case will be slightly worrying for those that are based in jurisdictions around the EU whilst offering bets in different territories. One of the reasons given by the ECJ is that countries will be safer if operated under a monopoly as there is not a set of harmonized rules covering the gambling industry on an EU-wide basis. Malta, along with the UK, is one of those countries that have a stellar set of rules when it comes to the online gaming industry and it’s likely to be just as safe as an Austrian monopoly.
Apart from taking away all choice that the consumer has the ECJ, it’s also approving a monopoly in a country that has seen its online gambling industry laws criticized by the ECJ head Yves Bot. Around this time last year the proposals were rejected, as they required gambling operators to be based in Austria.