The German Constitutional Court to issue a landmark ruling for the betting industry

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The ruling is in a case relating to article 12 of the German Constitution about the freedom to exercise a profession, and will bring some fundamental clarifications to the current German gaming policy.

EU member states are allowed to restrict the promotion of gaming services across borders, provided that their local gaming policies are consistents and when the so-called reasons of public order justifying the restrictions are not merely used to protect the local markets from foreign competition.

The European Court of Justice asked to EU member states to prove with statistical or other evidence, that the national restrictions on the cross-border provision of games meet the requirements of European law.

In 2003, a German court held a decision that the organization of sports betting was subject to a monopoly. However, this monopoly was not adopted and maintained for reasons of public order, but mostly for tax reasons. For this reason, the court stated it would not be justified to impose to an Austrian licensed bookmaker an obligation to obtain an additional German license.

Some other German courts have already held that the German gaming policy did not meet the required justifications imposed by the EC Treaty and the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice.

As the Bunderverfassungsgericht, the German Constitutional Court, raised substantial doubts on the compatibility of the German cross-border gaming restrictions and the requirements of European law, it may become very difficult for German authorities to keep protecting the local betting market from foreign competition.