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Wonderful… more good food for writing and thinking purposes…

Alex and other colleagues from Portugal, please take this and run for our enjoyment (non-Sport&EU members, consider joining the listserve to receive responses and thoughtful academic discourse).

There goes the establishment clause in EC Treaty (somewhat), importantly the services clause, and the principle of the Country of Origin… In agreement re: balanced tone and limitations to justified restrictions, however it is an interesting blow for UK-based operators (here via Gibraltar)… Let’s monitor. Some links, pertinent sections of today’s ECJ judgment, a manuscript, and a comparative outline of interest below:

GamingLaw link here, contrast here.

The decision (C-42/07) and selected portions:

65…

First, Santa Casa’s long existence, spanning more than five centuries, is evidence of that body’s reliability. Second, the Portuguese Government points out that Santa Casa operates under its strict control. The legal framework for games of chance, Santa Casa’s statutes and government involvement in appointing the members of its administrative organs enable the State to exercise an effective power of supervision over Santa Casa. That system, based on legislation and Santa Casa’s statutes, provides the State with sufficient guarantees that the rules for ensuring fairness in the games of chance organised by Santa Casa will be observed.

66 In that regard, it is apparent from the national legal framework, set out in paragraphs 12 to 19 of the present judgment, that the organisation and functioning of Santa Casa are governed by considerations and requirements relating to the pursuit of objectives in the public interest. The Gaming Department of Santa Casa has been given the powers of an administrative authority to open, institute and prosecute proceedings involving offences of illegal operation of games of chance in relation to which Santa Casa has the exclusive rights.

67 In that connection, it must be acknowledged that the grant of exclusive rights to operate games of chance via the internet to a single operator, such as Santa Casa, which is subject to strict control by the public authorities, may, in circumstances such as those in the main proceedings, confine the operation of gambling within controlled channels and be regarded as appropriate for the purpose of protecting consumers against fraud on the part of operators.

69…

the mere fact that an operator such as Bwin lawfully offers services in that sector via the internet in another Member State, in which it is established and where it is in principle already subject to statutory conditions and controls on the part of the competent authorities in that State, cannot be regarded as amounting to a sufficient assurance that national consumers will be protected against the risks of fraud and crime, in the light of the difficulties liable to be encountered in such a context by the authorities of the Member State of establishment in assessing the professional qualities and integrity of operators.

The paper for interested parties here.

The comparative piece from SLA here.

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