A player, whose identity has not been revealed, is suing an online casino for his losses of over €1,000,000 in online roulette games. The player's position is that the casino was operating in conflict with Austria's monopoly on gambling, therefore, the casino was guilty of conducting its operations illegally.
As a result of the lawsuit, Austria's Supreme Court (OGH) is asking that the entire national gambling legislation be revised due to the complications with online gambling monopolies.
Online portal derStandard.at reported that the online gambler's lawsuit brought about the court's decision.
The court case found support for the player's action in the first two instances but the previous verdicts were overruled by Austria's Supreme Court and the court accepted the defense of the casino. The casino's claim was that the national gambling law established in Austria was a monopoly standing against the free movement of services allowed by European treaties.
The Supreme Court sent the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) after examining the two first instances' verdicts and the latter verdict on the European regulation of services and gambling.
The decision of the ECJ could have extreme consequences, whichever way it goes. If the player's request is rejected, the court case would appear to endorse the idea of gambling monopolies that are acting outside of European rules. On November 20th, 2013, the European Commission sent Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania an official request. The request is focused on the need for information on national legislation restricting the supply of gambling services.
What will happen if the ECJ rules in favor of the player’s requests and the casino is on the paying end? A legal battle between European players and international operators could blow the situation out into the universe because it would make the gambling monopoly in Austria legitimate.