PositionDialogue with Paolo Mengozzi - Interview

How do you assess the EU Court of Justice's role in the very specific area of online gambling?

As it is a non-harmonised sector, the EU Court of Justice (ECJ) can only intervene to check that the treaties are being respected. In these matters, as in most of the previous ones, it's about checking compatibility of a national regulation with freedom of establishment and with free provision of services. While it is of course up to national jurisdictions to make decisions on disputes that are filed with them, the court has to indicate to them the path to follow to successfully complete this difficult task by replying to the preliminary rulings that it is asked. Its big challenge is to find common ground that makes it possible to guarantee respect for the freedoms set down by the EC Treaty.

How has the court's case law on gambling evolved up to now?

In my view, we can talk about evolution in the court's case law but not a clean break and certainly not a turnaround. Since its first rulings, case law has recognised the very particular nature of the sector, giving member states sufficient margin for manoeuvre to set, based on their own scales of values, the necessary conditions for the protection of gamblers and the social order. And, to guarantee respect for the treaties, case law has always demanded that the national regulation concerned be coherent with the objective of general interest that it pursues, proportional and non-discriminatory. Afterwards, it's about carrying out an analysis on a case by case...

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