GAMES OF CHANCE – FREEDOM TO PROVIDE SERVICES
Exclusive license limiting freedom to provide services – national court to determine
• that national legislation, such as that at issue in the main proceedings, which seeks to curb addiction to games of chance and to combat fraud, and which in fact contributes to the achievement of those objectives, can be regarded as limiting betting activities in a consistent and systematic manner even where the holder(s) of an exclusive licence are entitled to make what they are offering on the market attractive by introducing new games and by means of advertising.
• It is for the national court to determine whether unlawful gaming activities constitute a problem in the Member State concerned which might be solved by the expansion of authorised and regulated activities, and whether that expansion is on such a scale as to make it impossible to reconcile with the objective of curbing such addiction.
Blocking access to internet site for Dutch residents is an indispensible element
• A measure which implements the national legislation at issue in the main proceedings, such as the injunction which the judge who heard the application for interim relief imposed on the Ladbrokes companies in order to block access to their internet site for persons residing in the Netherlands and to make it impossible for such persons to participate in telephone betting, is an indispensable element of the protection in respect of games of chance that is intended to be provided by the Netherlands within its own territory and cannot, therefore, be regarded as an additional restriction over and above that which arises directly from the provisions of the Wok.
National court not required to determine compatability of implementing measure in each case
• that the answer to the second question is that, for the purpose of applying legislation of a Member State on games of chance which is compatible with Article 49 EC, the national courts are not required to determine, in each case, whether the implementing measure intended to ensure compliance with that legislation is suitable for achieving the objective of that legislation and is compatible with the principle of proportionality, in so far as that measure is necessary to ensure the effectiveness of that legislation and does not include any additional restriction over and above that which arises from the legislation itself.
• Whether that implementing measure was adopted as a result of action by the public authorities to ensure compliance with national legislation or of an application by an individual in the context of a civil action to protect his rights under that legislation has no bearing on the outcome of the dispute before the national court.
Prohibition on legitimate foreign operator from offering games of chance via the internet
• that Article 49 EC must be interpreted as not precluding legislation of a Member State, such as the legislation at issue in the main proceedings, under which exclusive rights to organise and promote games of chance are conferred on a single operator, and which prohibits any other operator, including an operator established in another Member State, from offering via the internet services within the scope of that regime in the territory of the first Member State