Our client, a Lottery Association, was faced with a network of monopolistic EU Member State laws and regulations that impeded the ability of its members – all private lottery operators – to exercise EU market freedoms. Alber & Geiger was enlisted to steer the developing legal framework in the field of gambling law and tear down restrictions of private lotteries in Europe. The challenge was to politically link the freedom of establishment with cross border lotteries based on the CJEU’s decisions on gambling freedom.
The strategy was built upon the respected Opinion of our Chairman on the Gambelli case when he was a Advocate General at the CJEU. The Opinion was used as a roadmap for judicial and legislative change during this seminal mandate. It articulated the narrow circumstances where a restriction on freedom of establishment would be justifiable by general interest concerns. The strategy was structured on all levels according to the integral components of the Opinion. It utilized the intellectual resources of our firm to co-ordinate the legislative dialogue in a direction that facilitated the creation of a EU wide free gambling market. We provided components of the machinery as well as oiling the cogs of law reform.
We provided long term, fixed judicial capital for our client and legislative change. Due to the ongoing successful execution of our strategy, recent judgments of the CJEU with respect to German and Austrian gambling restrictions have been echoing the Opinion. The CJEU now professes that in order to justify monopolistic state gambling regulations legislation must “ensure a particularly high level of protection” and a “coherent” gambling market. There must now be specific and narrow circumstances to legitimize curtailments to the freedom of establishment in the gambling market. This CJEU strategy must now be followed by the European Commission when checking EU Member States’ gambling restrictions.