|The Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that bookmakers Ladbrokes cannot offer gambling in The Netherlands without a permit and had broken the law by allowing national residents to place bets on its website.|
However, the English firm revealed that the decision is contingent on a ruling from a European Union tribunal on whether national gaming laws supersede the bloc’s anti-trust regulations. The Court, based in The Hague, has asked the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for guidance on the issue.
“This is not a done deal,” said Judge Ernst Numann.
“It’s the question if the ban on offering gambling in The Netherlands without a permit is in line with European law.'
The Netherlands is one of ten European Union countries including France and Sweden that have been threatened with legal action by the European Commission with Charlie McCreevy, Internal Markets and Services Commissioner for the European Union, stating that laws protecting national gaming monopolies are a form of illegal discrimination.
“We’re pleased the case is referred to the European Court of Justice,’’ said Ciaran O’Brien, Spokesperson for Harrow-based Ladbrokes.
“We believe the Dutch law is inconsistent with the European treaty.”
De Lotto, the only permitted sports lottery operator in The Netherlands, filed a motion with a lower court in 2005 asking that Ladbrokes be prohibited from operating in the Dutch market.