The European Court of Justice has issued an opinion rejecting Austrian advertising restrictions on gambling, the third time that the provisions of the country’s federal law on gaming has prompted Austrian courts to refer questions to the ECJ in order to clarify the rules relating to the freedom to provide services.

The case was referred to the ECJ by an Administrative Court in Austria which asked for a preliminary ruling on the following question concerning the freedom to provide services:

“Is a rule of national law which permits the domestic advertising of casinos located outside the national territory only where the legal protection for gamblers in those foreign locations corresponds to the protection under domestic law compatible with the freedom to provide services?”

The referring court considered that the ECJ’s answer to that question was necessary in order for it to adjudicate in the action brought by two public limited companies established in Slovenia, HIT and HIT LARIX, against the Federal Minister for Finance, concerning the decisions to reject the casinos’ application for a permit to carry out advertising in Austria for their gaming establishments in Slovenia.

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