According to the Dutch Supreme Court, the British bookmaker Ladbrokes is still violating the Dutch Gaming Act. The European Court will still have to say how this relates to European laws. The High Council believes that bookmaker Ladbrokes is guilty of violation of the Gaming Act by using the Internet to offer sports betting to the Dutch. The Council indicated this last Friday in a judgement.
The question has thus not yet been answered. The Council is still waiting for answers from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on how European law must be interpreted in this case. The Supreme Council is not the only one who has suggested questions to the European Court on Internet gambling. Even judges from other Member States and the Dutch Council of State did so last month. The question now is how the Dutch state monopoly on gambling contravenes the European law on the free movement of trade and services. That provision is contained in the EC Treaty. Restrictions on the provision of services are prohibited so members usually have no good justification to do so.
One justification raised by the Netherlands government could well be sufficiently limiting gambling and the fight against gambling addiction which has seriously picked up since the rise of the Internet. However, the Dutch government has saturated the media with advertisements for lotteries and gambling. It has also raised the question in the European Supreme Court as to whether national judges in each case have the right to make a decision about the blocking of foreign gambling sites. Ladbrokes has a licence in the United Kingdom for the provision of gambling. After answering the questions raised regarding this subject, the case will be handled by the High Council.
Betting office Ladbrokes is one of the many companies with gambling sites which, until now, have not been seen legally by Dutch judges. That also includes Unibet and Betfair. A case of Betfair vs the State Council is also still pending. These legal cases include, amongst other points, the refusal by Justice Minister Hirsch Ballin to grant Betfair a gaming permit.