Umbrella organisation European Lotteries (EL) has welcomed a recent statement by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) to give a lower priority to gambling complaints on the grounds that they should be considered a matter for the national courts.
The ESA, which has worked on many gambling-related cases over the years, will no longer consider it a priority to use its infringement powers to promote a single market for gambling. The European Commission took a similar approach back in 2017.
Arjan van ‘t Veer, Secretary General of EL, said: ”EL welcomes the recent ESA decision which aligns with the European Commission approach back in 2017. Concerns about public order and consumer protection are best dealt with by controls and regulation at national level.”
The ESA statement emphasised the importance of effective legislation and regulation of gambling services at the national level.
Veer added: ”Nationally licensed and regulated lotteries have proved to work successfully for generations.
“EL fully supports the continued application of the ‘’principle of subsidiarity’’ in the gambling sector, as the key element to secure and safeguard the common objectives of general interest – consumer protection, the fight against gambling addiction and illegal operations.”
According to the ESA statement, the EFTA Court, and the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) have ‘’repeatedly recognised EEA States’ considerable margin of appreciation to restrict gambling services when pursuing legitimate public interest objectives such as the protection of minors, the fight against gambling addiction, and to combat irregularities and fraud’’.
Instead, gambling complaints would be handled more efficiently by national courts when facing problems with EEA law in the gambling sector.
The EL also declared that it will continue to call for the support of national gambling policies through the principle of subsidiarity, sustain the current widespread model of national lotteries in Europe and safeguard the benefits of national lotteries for society.
Earlier this month, the EL Executive Committee decided to postpone this year’s Congress and Trade show to 2023 due to the ongoing global health crisis.