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Turfed out

It is not enough for member states to simply say their actions are 'justified' - the ECJ will scrutinise their reasoning, says Paul Stanley QC

18 July 2011

It might have surprised those who, in the aftermath of the Second World War, set out to create the European Community that their lofty ideals would be frequently invoked by those seeking to establish as freedom to gamble. But the ECJ has a fairly regular diet of gambling cases, especially since the internet offers such an ideal means of gambling. In case C-212/08 Zeturf (Eighth Chamber, 30 June 2011) the court has once more taken up the issues.

The case concerned the French monopoly on off-course betting, which permits off-course betting on horse races to be carried out only by a monopoly provider, PMU, which is controlled by the state and contributes a substantial subsidy (around 12 per cent of the sums bet) to the state. This was challenged by a Maltese-based provider of internet gambling services.

The basic features of this sort of case are now reasonably routine. Restrictions on the provision of gambling services require justification. Typically the state in...

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