Hungarian dispute: CJEU in favour of Kindred

Hungarian dispute: CJEU in favour of Kindred

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 Posted by Luke Massey
Kindred had appealed against the country's online licensing

Kindred Group has supported a statement made by the European Gaming & Betting Association (EGBA) after the European Court of Justice (CJEU) ruled in favour of the online gambling operator in a dispute with the Hungarian government over its online licensing framework.

Kindred Group, whose sportsbook and casino portfolio includes Unibet, 32Red and Stan James, successfully appealed against Hungary’s Gambling Supervisory Unit for purposely creating online gambling provisions and standards which could not be met by non-national stakeholders.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA, said: “The court reiterated that member states must guarantee that national regulation on online gambling services meets objective, transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate criteria. Only a properly regulated and transparent online gambling market can ensure that the consumer is channelled to the regulated offer.

“The court’s ruling is a clear message to other gaming authorities, including the Dutch Gaming Authority, that they must not enforce regulation that does not comply with basic EU law. We expect these member states to reconsider and lift these enforcement measures as they are acting in violation of EU law. Their actions do not serve the interest of consumers, they fail to channel the consumers to reliable providers, instead they merely prop up failed regulation.”

Alexander Westrell, head of communications for Kindred Group, told TotallyGaming.com: “Kindred Group are happy to see that the CJEU once again finds that EU Member States are not allowed to enforce against operators who hold licences in the EU when their national legislation violates the fundamental freedoms of EU law. Sustainable regulation based on the digital market reality in which we all live in today is the only way forward and in the best interest of both consumers and society.”

Totally Gaming says: In 2014, the Hungarian government updated its legislation in favour of domestic operators by moving online sports betting under the control of the state-run Szerencsejáték Zrt. After the initial Unibet complaint, tax authorities in the country ordered providers to block Unibet domains and impose fines, but the CJEU has now ruled against this sort of enforcement action, which goes against Article 56 of the Treaty and Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

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