bwin e.K.: ECJ judgement in Placanica case: another milestone on the road to opening up the European gaming market

bwin welcomes today’s judgement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in thePlacanica case. The judgement represents a further important decision for thefreedom of services as a fundamental pillar of the European Union. In concreteterms, the judgement in the „Placanica“ case means that the Italian legislationprohibiting the cross-border provision of betting under threat of imprisonment is ininfringement of the freedom of establishment and services under the Treaty on European Union. State monopolies were not in compliance with EU legislation before,but in the light of this judgement are no longer tenable.

Professor Siegbert Alber, former Vice-President of the European Parliament andAdvocate General in the Gambelli proceedings, sees today’s ruling by the ECJ asfollows: „Monopolies cannot and should not be the only means of regulating gaming.Granting licences can serve the same purpose. The reasons given for Italy’s monopolyin the Placanica case are far more honest than the pronouncements made by othermember states. At least Italy admits that its approach of simultaneously issuinglicences is designed to increase revenues and only to combat illegal gamingoperators.“

Following the ECJ’s judgement in the Gambelli case and the institution ofinfringement proceedings by the European Commission against a total of nine memberstates in connection with gaming, today’s Placanica judgement provides confirmationof bwin’s own legal opinion. At the same time, it also represents further vitalconfirmation of the freedom of services within the European Union.

The bwin Group has over 10 million registered customers (including 7 million playmoney customers) in over 20 core target markets. Operating under international andregional licences in countries like Gibraltar, Kahnawake (Canada), Belize andGermany, Italy, Mexico, Austria and the United Kingdom, the Group has set itself thegoal of becoming the number one address for sports betting, games and entertainmentvia digital distribution channels. The Group offers sports betting, poker, casinogames, soft and skill games, as well as audio and video streams on top sportingevents such as the German Bundesliga. The parent company bwin InteractiveEntertainment AG has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since March 2000 (IDcode BWIN, Reuters ID code BWIN.VI).