Directly after finding Germany's national monopoly company in violation of European Union free trade rules, the European Court of Justice has also found Austrian gambling laws
to be unfair to EU competition.
The court found the proposed new Austrian legislation to be at odds with standing EU regulations in that a company seat in the country is required to operate online gambling sites in Austria
, a measure that would of necessity exclude foreign-based operators.
While a pass had been offered on current gambling laws due to prevention of crime and/or fraud, this ruling overturns that exception and the Austrian government will be expect to create some new gambling laws or face fines from the European Commission.
European Gaming and Betting Association secretary-general Sigrid Ligné stated that the ruling “confirms clearly that member states cannot require EU licensed online operators to be physically present on their territory.” Ligné also said that “Other member states have opened or are opening their markets and moving away from monopoly regimes to multi-operator licensing systems. They show that consumers can be better protected in a market that is both regulated and open to competition.”
Ligné’s viewpoint is welcome to dozens of private operators of Austrian internet casinos
and other gambling sites, of course: Remote Gambling Association CEO Clive Hawkswood said that “We hope that this ruling will convince other member states to introduce changes in their legislation.”