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Press Release 24 Feb 2021

EL welcomes ESA statement on de-prioritising gambling complaints

EL welcomes a recent statement by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), to give a lower priority to gambling complaints as they are considered a matter for the national courts.

The ESA, which has worked on a number of gambling-related cases over the years such as previous interventions on issues such as Norway's right to maintain a monopoly on gaming machines, will no longer consider it a priority to use its infringement powers to promote a single market for gambling. The European Commission took a similar approach back in 2017.

”EL welcomes the recent ESA decision which aligns with the European Commission approach back in 2017. Concerns about public order and consumer protection are best dealt with by controls and regulation at national level.”
Arjan van 't veer

Arjan van ‘t Veer, EL Secretary General

The ESA statement emphasises the importance of effective legislation and regulation of gambling services at national level.

”Nationally licensed and regulated lotteries have proved to work successfully for generations. EL fully supports the continued application of the ‘’principle of subsidiarity’’ in the gambling sector, as the key element to secure and safeguard the common objectives of general interest – consumer protection, the fight against gambling addiction and illegal operations.”
Arjan van 't veer

Arjan van ‘t Veer, EL Secretary General

According to the official ESA statement, the EFTA Court, and the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) have ‘’repeatedly recognised EEA States' considerable margin of appreciation to restrict gambling services when pursuing legitimate public interest objectives such as the protection of minors, the fight against gambling addiction, and to combat irregularities and fraud’’ . Gambling complaints would be instead handled more efficiently by national courts when facing problems with EEA law in the gambling sector.

EL continues to call for the support of national gambling policies through the principle of subsidiarity, sustain the current widespread model of national lotteries in Europe and safeguard the benefits of national lotteries for society.