The Commission concluded on 23 June 2011 (in answer to my Written Question E‑004933/2011) that the Portuguese Decree-Law No 282/2003 of 8 November 2003 regulating the operation by electronic means of gambling in Portugal should ‘have been notified at a draft stage according to this directive (Directive 98/34/EC) ’.
The Commission had earlier qualified on 18 October 2008 the Decree-Law No 282/2003 in its written observations in the CJEU Case C‑42/07, concerning Liga Portuguesa de Futebol Profissional, as a technical regulation and therefore falling within the meaning of Article 1(11) of Directive 98/34 (Commission’s written observations in Case C‑42/07, para 41). All other Member States have acknowledged this and have duly notified their draft laws regulating online gambling: e.g. just recently Spain, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Austria, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. More than three years have passed since the Commission’s written observations, and Portugal still seems reluctant to acknowledge its obligations under Directive 98/34/EC.
In September 2011, the Court of First Instance of Oporto applied Decree-Law No 282/2003 against an operator regulated within the EU and thus ignored the jurisprudence of the CJEU on the effect of the failure to comply with Directive 98/34/EC. Shortly afterwards, the same court denied that operator’s appeal to suspend the decision. As a consequence of these decisions by the local court, this European operator was forced to stop all advertising and sponsorship activities for Portuguese football and sports in order to avoid severe fines.
1. Does the Commission consider that the national court has rightfully ignored the CJEU jurisprudence on the effect of a failure to notify under Directive 98/34/EC?
2. When is the Commission considering initiating an infringement proceeding against Portugal for its failure to notify Decree No 282/2003?