It seems that there is no uniformity in the advice provided by the attorney-generals of the European Court of Justice, regarding online casino gambling companies and their compatibility with EU law.

Advocate General Paolo Mengozzi has recently given his opinion regarding online gambling, he said that Member States are not obliged to allow foreign gambling companies to enter their markets just because they have a license in another Member State. The Ministry of Finance said that Malta will closely monitor developments before responding or commenting further.

On March 4, Advocate General Mengozzi gave his opinion on a number of cases in which the German court had asked the Court of Justice for a ruling on whether the law on gambling in Germany works in conjunction with the EU legislation. In his opinion, Advocate General Mengozzi said that the mutual recognition of national licenses for gambling is not viable as the EU-law is now established. Mengozzi believed that a Member State, under certain conditions, may prohibit internet casino gambling and have a state monopoly on sports betting.

The European Court of Justice communicated the advice in a press release in which she pointed out that as with any other advice, the advice of the Advocate General is not binding for the European Court of Justice. he role of the Advocates General was to propose to the Court, in complete independence, a legal solution to the cases for which they are responsible. Court judges then deliberate on the cases and hand down judgements at a later date.

In a statement the ministry clearly explains that this is the opinion of an Advocate-General and is not binding for the final decision of the Court.

Another European Court of Justice attorney general, Yves Bot opined on 26 January in the Winner Wetten case, that German gambling law in one of the regions of Germany, is limiting free movement of services. The advice noted a conflict between EU law and a provision of directly applicable local laws. The task of national courts was to apply local laws to ensure the refusal of EU law. The Ministry of Finance said that there is no harmonization of EU legislation in the online casino industry. Malta proposes that the basis of the EU Treaty, namely the determination of the free movement of services and freedom of establishment rules above local legislation.

“Speculation can only harm the industry, hence we will be following developments attentively before commenting further,” the Ministry said. “It is important to take note of the recent proposal made by European Commissioner responsible for the Internal Market and Services, Michel Barnier, to the European Parliament that is, the tabling of a Green Paper to act as a consultation document in the field ofonline gaming.”

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