Court ruling does not bode well for German lottery monopolies

By Caroline Watson
A German Court has found that the country’s state lottery monopolies are operating in breach of EU law.

The decision determined that the monopolies in question are unlawful and that the state’s intention to retain it goes against Article 56 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which permits gambling monopolies only under certain conditions.

The complaint was filed by a Bavarian firm against state lottery monopolies, and has since been upheld by the Administrative Court of Munich.

The Bavarian firm who filed the case has decided to remain unnamed.

The news does not bode well for the current licence holders, as the judgment stated that the land-based lottery monopolies currently in operation in all of the country’s 16 states breached the EU’s principles of “freedom to provide services” and the “constitutionally guaranteed freedom of choice”.

Although the EU does permit its members to maintain gambling monopolies that are designed to keep problem gambling under wraps, this is only under certain circumstances.

Nonetheless, the unnamed firm submitted several examples of the state monopoly promoting large attractive jackpots, which somewhat undermined the government’s alleged desire to keep gambling to a minimum.

The ruling will be music to the ears of private lottery operators currently providing their services in Germany, who have been eager to get a slice of the pie for some time.


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