Divisional Court upholds ban on betting on EuroMillions

Cases

Today the Divisional Court handed down judgment in R (EU Lotto Ltd and others) v Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [2018] EWHC 3111 (Admin). The Court (Gross and Green LJ) dismissed the challenge brought by the claimant on-line gambling operators to Regulations banning the taking of bets on the EuroMillions draw.

Betting on the National Lottery has long been prohibited, but although the EuroMillions draw is a draw for the purposes of the National Lottery, it is also a draw for the purposes of EuroMillions lotteries across Europe. This meant that gambling operators could side-step the prohibition on betting on the National Lottery by taking bets on the EuroMillions draw on the basis that the bets were on a lottery in another country. The Gambling Act 2005 (Operating Licence Conditions) (Amendment) Regulations 2018 were intended to close what was seen as a loophole in the protection afforded to the National Lottery in this respect.

The Claimant argued that the prohibition on betting on the EuroMillions draw was a disproportionate interference with their freedom to provide services under article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. However, the Court accepted the Secretary of State’s argument that the prohibition pursued legitimate aims and accepted the Gambling Commission’s argument that there was no less intrusive way of achieving those aims.

Andrew Sharland QC, Rupert Paines and Daniel Isenberg appeared for the Secretary of State of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Jonathan Moffett QC and Christopher Knight appeared for the Gambling Commission.