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Games of chance as economic activity covered by the fundamental freedoms rules of the TFEU


The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled for the first time in its judgment in Schindler that the organisation of all games of chance or gambling (in particular Schindler and Anomar cases) such as lotteries can be considered an economic activity since there is a particular service provided for remuneration and an intention to make a cash profit. Hence, they are subject to the fundamental freedoms of the Treaty: the free movement of services (Articles 56-62, Treaties of the European Union (TFEU)) and the freedom of establishment (Articles 49-55 TFEU). The Court held in Gambelli that services offered by electronic means are also covered by these Treaty principles.

The notion of “services” within the meaning of Articles 56 and 57 TFEU applies not only to activities allowing users to participate in gambling, but also to the activity of promoting gambling, given that such an activity merely constitutes a specific step in the organisation or operation of the gambling to which it relates (Case Schindler; Case Winner Wetten and Stoß and Others).

Magazine competitions involving crosswords or other puzzles in which a number of readers who have given correct answers receive a prize following a draw, do not constitute an economic activity in their own right. They are merely one aspect of the editorial content of a magazine, and are organised on a small scale, with small stakes. The CJEU has assessed restrictions on the organisation of such competitions under the Treaty rules on the free movement of goods (Case C-368/95, Familiapress [1997] ECR I-3689, also Zenatti).

Source: europa.eu

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