Brussels, 28 February 2008
The Commission's decision to inquire into the compatibility with EU law of the measures in question is based on complaints made by a number of service providers and on information gathered by Commission staff.
The complaints against Greece concern the fact that providers lawfully licensed in another Member State are not allowed to provide sports betting services and other games of chance in Greece. Restrictions also extend to the promotion or advertising of the services and to whether Greek nationals can participate in the games.
The Dutch investigation relates only to provision and promotion of sports betting services.
The European Court of Justice has previously stated that any restrictions which seek to protect general interest objectives, such as the protection of consumers, must be “consistent and systematic” in how they seek to limit gambling activities. A Member State cannot invoke the need to restrict its citizens’ access to gambling services if at the same time it incites and encourages them to participate in state lotteries, games of chance or betting which benefits the state’s finances.
The Commission considers that in both Greece and the Netherlands the recent introduction of new addictive games, intensive and increasing advertising, and the absence of concrete measures against gambling addiction together constitute clear evidence of the absence of a consistent and systematic policy aimed at genuinely reducing gambling opportunities.
The latest information on infringement proceedings concerning all Member States can be found at: