German constitutional court decision on sports betting in Bavaria a victory for state monopolies

Ruling highlights the role of state gambling providers in preventing addictive behaviour

Today in Karlsruhe, the German constitutional court („Bundesverfassungsgericht“) in a long awaited ruling confirmed the view expressed in earlier statements of the Euopean Court of Justice that state providers can have a monopoly position when the monopoly serves the purpose of limiting the proliferation of addictive behaviour.

The Bundesverfassungsgericht has decided that the current laws are valid. German states have until the end of 2007 to review their legislation with the view of guaranteeing that the legislation effectively serves the purpose of limiting the proliferation of gambling.

The President of the Court explicitly noted that this decision of the German constitutional court is in line with the previous ECJ-ruling in the Gambelli-case. These ECJ rulings point to the important role of state gambling providers to prevent addictive gambling behaviour. Dr. Wortmann, the President of European Lotteries: „The court has acknowledged the important role state providers (in this case ODDSET) can play in limiting the proliferation of gambling behaviour.“ The court also explicitly noted that private sports betting is not legal under the current legislative framework.

European Lotteries notes that ODDSET has already communicated that it will now work to implement the conditions set up by the court as soon as possible.

European Lotteries are aware of the importance of these national rulings for the developments in the EU overall and have closely observed the case from the outset. Dr. Winfried Wortmann spoke on behalf of European Lotteries at the hearing in the Bundesverfassungsgericht in November of last year, warning of the effects a possible liberalisation of the sector in Germany could have on the gambling sector in the entire European Union.

European Lotteries emphasise that this decision proves again that gambling services are not a service which can be provided without proper forms of control and can be left to state providers.

As late as February, this view had also been expressed in the European Parliament Plenary vote on the Services Directive where Parliamentarians voted to exclude gambling from the scope of this directive.

European Lotteries is the association of the European state lotteries and toto companies representing 74 organisations across Europe.