The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has thrown out a petition from the government of Belgium seeking to annul online gambling guidelines set by the European Commission (EC).
The Belgian government had earlier asked the CJEU to strike down the EC guidelines that aim to develop a high degree of consumer protection, claiming that the EC has overstepped its Treaty-based competences by issuing the guidelines.
In junking Belgium’s petition, the CJEU ruled that the EC didn’t see anything wrong when it published a number of practical online gambling recommendations to European Union member states in 2014.
After an analysis, the court rejected Belgium’s arguments that the EC had interfered with the sovereignty of member states and their power to regulate national gambling markets.
In its ruling, the CJEU said “the General Court was able properly to conclude… that [the] recommendation does not have and is not intended to have binding legal effects, with the result that it cannot be classified as a challengeable act.”
The European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) thanked the CJEU for backing the EC’s goal of fostering a higher degree of online gambling protection.
While it isn’t legally binding, EGBA said they fully support the implementation of the guidelines set by the EC since it would encourage member states to prioritize the welfare of consumers and promote a vibrant gambling environment.
The group also pointed out that the standard set by the EC also complimented the European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) workshop agreement on Responsible Remote Gambling Measures, which EGBA members adhere to.
“We now call upon the Commission to evaluate the implementation of its guidelines by Member States and identify any gaps and corrective action needed to encourage Member States to achieve a high level of consumer protection,” EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer said in a statement.