ECJ Rules Dutch Online Gambling Policy Secure

Published Thursday, June 03, 2010 -

The European Court of Justice has brought down a judgement against U.K. licensed online gambling operators Ladbrokes and Betfair in their bid to challenge the ban on internet gambling imposed by the Dutch government. According to a judgement issued by the European Court of Justice European countries will be allowed to prohibit online gambling if the main reason is to prevent fraud.


Betfair and Ladbrokes were put out of the Netherlands after the state monopoly there De Lotto had the courts restrict the activities of the two large U.K. based betting firms, on the grounds that neither had a license issued by the Dutch government.

The European Court of Justice supported the Dutch argument, stating, “Such a restriction may be justified, in particular, by the objectives of consumer protection and the prevention of both fraud and incitement to squander money on gambling, as well as the need to preserve public order.” "The grant to such an operator of exclusive rights to operate games of chance, or the renewal of such rights, without any competitive tendering procedure would not appear to be disproportionate in the light of the objectives pursued by the Netherlands legislation."

The Secretary General of the European Gaming and Betting Association, Sigrid Ligné, commented, “The Court has confirmed that if a Member State wants to prohibit or channel gambling through a single operator it has to comply with strict features that we consider are clearly not met in the context of the Dutch legislation. But it is now for the national judge to assess the consistency of the Dutch gambling policy and to make a final decision”. Ligné, concluded, “We are confident that reform of the gambling laws will take place in the Netherlands, as they already do throughout the EU. Beyond the legal considerations, you also have to look at the reality of the market. There is a consumer demand for online gaming in the Netherlands, like there is all over Europe. Increasingly, EU Member States like Italy, Denmark and France realize that online gaming is a popular leisure activity and are opening their market to competition. EGBA urges the Dutch authorities to also start regulating the market.”


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