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Inter-EU Gambling Laws Not Viable, Adviser Says

(CN) - In an opinon involving six cases against regional governments in Germany, an advocate general advised Europe's top court that mutual recognition of gaming licenses among nations is not viable within the current EU legal framework.

Restrictions on gaming should be allowed in the public interest, Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi said, in order to reduce the risk of addiction to gambling or to fight crime.

The six German cases related to regional monopolies on sports gambling and lotteries, and private operation of horse races and slot machines. A 2008 treaty that emerged out of a German Federal Constitutional Court ruling banned Internet gambling altogether.

Promotion of gambling under a monopoly may be allowed if it's intended to channel the activity into regulated and controlled systems, and not merely to generate revenue, Mengozzi wrote in his recommendation to the Court of Justice. He left it to the national court to make this determination.

Gambling may be regulated according to its form, Mengozzi continued, though differences between regions should be avoided. Distributing regulatory powers among territories does not necessarily run contrary to this concept, he argued.

Private operators must act consistently with public objectives and must be supervised, the advocate general asserted. He added that Internet gaming should be allowed if a public interest objective is pursued.

Under current EU law, recognition of gambling licenses across member states is not viable, Mengozzi opined.

Mengozzi's opinion is part of a recent set of rulings aimed at harmonizing gambling regulations across the European Union.


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