German court refers sports betting case to the European Court of Justice

Rechtsanwalt Martin Arendts, M.B.L.-HSG

Arendts Rechtsanwälte
Perlacher Str. 68
D - 82031 Grünwald (bei München)
Tel.: +49 89 649111-75
Fax: +49 89 649111-76
E-Mail: martin.arendts@anlageanwalt.de
Yesterday, the Administrative Court of Gießen referred a second German sports betting case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) according to Art. 234 EC Treaty (decision of 7 May 2007, file-no. 10 E 13/07).

Recently, the Administrative Court of Cologne had referred a first case to the ECJ (decision of 21 September 2006, file-no. 1 K 5910/05). However, this case (C-409/06 – Winner Wetten) only deals with the temporary suspension of the basic freedoms, guaranteed by the EC Treaty, with regard to sports betting (as the Administrative Court of Appeal of North Rhine-Westphalia openly suspended the freedom to provide services and the freedom of establishment in more than 200 cases concerning betting shops).

The new case has a much broader scope. On the on hand side, the Administrative Court of Gießen asked the ECJ whether a sports betting monopoly is consistent with Community law, if the authorities encourage the participation in gambling and if private operators are allowed to offer gambling services with equal or even higher risks compared with sports betting, e.g. horse betting, slot machines or casinos. On the other hand, the German court wants to know, if operators from other Member States can rely on their foreign license, as the German regulations does not provide for a licensing procedure consistent with the requirements of Community law.