EU court affirms online gambling guidelines
The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has thrown out a petition from the government of Belgium seeking to annul the online gambling guidelines set by the European Commission to member states.
The Belgian government has earlier asked the CJEU to strike down the commission guidelines that aims to develop a high degree of consumer protection, claiming that the European Commission has stepped beyond its Treaty-based competences by issuing the guidelines.
In junking Belgium’s petition, the European court ruled that the commission didn’t see anything wrong when the defendant published a number of practical online gambling recommendations to member states in 2014.
After an analysis, the court rejected Belgium’s arguments that the commission went beyond its mandate and interfered with the sovereignty of member states and their power to regulate national gambling markets.
In its ruling, the CJEU said “the General Court was able properly to conclude… that [the] recommendation does not have and is not intended to have binding legal effects, with the result that it cannot be classified as a challengeable act.”
For its part, members of the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA)thanked the CJEU for backing the commission’s goal to foster a higher degree of online gambling protection.
While it isn’t legally binding, EGBA said they fully support the implementation of the guidelines set by the commission since it would encourage member states to prioritize the welfare of consumers and, at the same time, promote a vibrant gambling environment in the region.
The group also pointed out that the standard set by the Commission also complimentedthe European Committee for Standardization’s (CEN) workshop agreement on Responsible Remote Gambling Measures, which each EGBA members adhered to.
“We now call upon the Commission to evaluate the implementation of its guidelines by Member States and identify any gaps and corrective action needed to encourage Member States to achieve a high level of consumer protection,” EGBA Secretary General Maarten Haijer said in a statement.
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