The Maltese government has withdrawn its Request for Opinion, which it had filed with the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) on 8 July 2014. Following the adoption of the Convention on Manipulations of Sports Competitions of the Council of Europe (CoE) on 9 July 2014, Malta had filed its request in order to clarify, whether the Convention and especially its definition of “illegal sports betting” were compatible with the EU Treaties and Articles 18, 49 and 56 TFEU especially.
Malta had taken part in the negotiations on the Convention in the CoE and, while agreeing with the general aims of the Convention, had objected throughout that the definition of “illegal sports betting” is wrong to focus on the consumers’ location and not on the location of the operator. Due to this, Malta claimed that legally compliant operators in one would possibly be deemed illegal in other Member States. Furthermore, Malta pointed out that betting regulation was not a settled matter in the EU and should not be introduced over the Convention. During the negotiations, the majority of CoE countries, including EU Member States, wanted to maintain this definition however, leading Malta to take the step of a Request for Opinion with the CJEU.
Considering the current discussions in the Council of the European Union to proceed with the signature of the Convention, Malta has now decided to withdraw its Request from the CJEU and proceed through “deeper dialogue at the European level” and “to safeguard this position during the following months”. 21 Members of the CoE have currently signed the Convention, 12 of which are EU Member States. Luxembourg, Spain and Poland were the last signatories on 7 July 2015.
Press release of Maltese Government, 18 August 2015
Council of Europe: Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions
Overview of Signatures/Ratifications for Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competition