The latest ruling from the European Court of Justice has made it clear that gambling monopolies cannot be allowed if they seek to grow the gambling market, giving European governments a clear choice between revenue maximisation or the pursuit of a particularly high level of consumer protection.

“…to be consistent with the objective of fighting crime and reducing opportunities for gambling, national legislation establishing a monopoly which allows the holder of the monopoly to follow an expansionist policy must genuinely be based on a finding that the crime and fraud linked to gaming are a problem in the Member State concerned, which could be remedied by expanding authorised regulated activities,” the court said. The court emphasises, however, that the objective of maximising public revenue alone cannot permit such a restriction of the freedom to provide services.

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