9 September 2010

The Austrian gambling monopoly has survived. So far.

Spinphoto © 2009 Conor Ogle | more info (via: Wylio)

Somewhere in the beginning of this year I wrote a blog post asking “is the Austrian gambling monopoly coming to an end?“. The reason behind was the pending case of Engelmann before the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In this lawsuit the Court was asked to address three questions, the most important of which was the one above. Today this very Court delivered an answer that seems to read “no, it is not”.

Not unusual, the ECJ has omitted to press the hot button that this gambling monopoly issue represents. Court’s reluctance appears even more blatant when reading the related statement “In view of the answers given to the first and third questions and of the fact that the national court, as pointed out in paragraph 26 of the present judgment, has established a link between the facts satisfying the definition of the offence with which Mr Engelmann has been charged and the question whether he was lawfully excluded from the possibility of obtaining a concession, it is not necessary to answer the second question.” I may remind my readers that the second question was the one particularly challenging the Austrian state monopoly over games of chance.

In this respect my forecast regarding the survival of the monopoly has proven correct. On the other hand I feel somewhat confused about our supreme judicial authority’s denial to address an issue referred to it. Do we need a judicature deliberately missing its chance to provide for legal certainty and stability? I personally do not!

 

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