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EU court rules against German gambling monopolies

September 9, 2010

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BERLIN—The European Court of Justice has decided that German rules which grant a state-supervised monopoly on sports betting and lotteries violate European Union law.

The Luxembourg-based court said Wednesday while EU members can establish monopolies to channel "the desire to gamble and the operation of games into a controlled circuit," it criticized Germany for rules that "do not limit games of chance in a consistent and systematic manner."

The court said monopoly operators advertise heavily to maximize their lotteries' profits -- thus undermining the point of the monopolies. It said German authorities also effectively encourage participation in more addictive casino and automated games, which are not subject to the rules.

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