The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled in favor of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), overturning the European Commission's decision not to investigate the granting of lottery licenses in the Netherlands for potential breaches of EU state aid rules.
In 2020, the Commission had concluded that a formal EU investigation into the Dutch licensing procedure was unnecessary, prompting EGBA to appeal the decision in March 2021. The CJEU has now annulled the Commission's decision, asserting that the renewal of lottery licenses without a transparent process and at market rate could constitute illegal state aid.
The CJEU emphasized that if there is any doubt about potential illegal state aid, the Commission is obligated to initiate an investigation. Consequently, the Commission will now conduct a formal state aid investigation into the Dutch lottery licensing process.
Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of EGBA, commented on the ruling, stating, "We are confident the Commission will now carry out a thorough investigation, and we are ready to provide any necessary information and data. It is crucial for the Commission to uphold EU law consistently across all sectors, without fear or favor, including the gambling sector. The selective enforcement of EU law undermines the Commission’s institutional role as the guardian of the Treaties."
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