Commercial Gambling without Frontiers: When the ECJ Throws, the Dice is Loaded

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Series Details Volume 27, Number 1, Pages 237-276
Publication Date 01/01/2008
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This article critically analyses the Placanica case and reviews the issues raised, principally in terms of the impact they might have for domestic, commercial gambling legislation generally throughout the European Community (EC).

The article contends that, although the European Court of Justice (ECJ) now appears to be of the unequivocal view that the free movement provisions of Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty must be interpreted as precluding a regulatory regime similar to that established in Italian law, careful analysis of the Placanica judgement and its aftermath demonstrates that Member States still enjoy significant freedom to restrict, or even prohibit, commercial gambling.

The article discusses, on the one hand, the Member States’ continuing discretion to enact such regulatory measures and the limits of that discretion—namely, the need to genuinely and consistently serve public interest justifications and comply with the principle of proportionality. On the other hand, it assesses the efficacy of the Court’s approach in response to the reality of the rapid expansion of cross-border gambling services within the European Union (EU).

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