European Union's highest court rules that government gambling monopolies must be dismantled

The European Union's highest court has ruled that the government monopolies on gambling in Germany are “unjustifiable” and must be dismantled.

In its ruling, handed down this week, the European Court of Justice said “The German rules do not limit games of chance in a consistent and systematic manner” and therefore they cannot be justified under EU treaty guarantees of free trade among Member States.

Under German law, only the country’s 16 federal states or companies run by them can offer gambling. The state therefore has an effective monopoly on gambling and lotteries. The law also bans most Web-based betting and forbids advertising such services.