Sunday February 9,2014 : AUSTRIAN SUPREME COURT ASKS FOR GUIDANCE IN ONLINE GAMBLING CASE
Player's long-running issue with internet casino involves a million Euros.
A long-running and complicated case that started when an Austrian punter lost a million Euros on the virtual roulette tables of an internet casino entered a new phase this month when the Austrian Supreme Court referred the case to the European Court of Justice for an opinion.
The publication derStandard reports that the player initially claimed that the online casino operated illegally and without a licence in the monopolised Austrian gambling market, and was successful in two lower court hearings.
However, when the case was taken on appeal to the Austrian Supreme Court, the casino's argument that gambling monopolies were in conflict with European Union principles and law, and restricted the flow of free trade and services, the Court sought an opinion from the ECJ.
The general approach taken by the ECJ in the past suggests that it is not uncomfortable with the idea of national monopolies if they are primarily in the public interest, protecting consumers and reducing the risk of compulsive gambling.
However, where this qualification cannot be met, restrictions on the free passage of trade and services with other EU member nations is frowned upon.