NOTE TO JUDGMENT. THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS CANNOT BE ASKED FOR JUDGMENTS REGARDING THE NATIONALISATION PROCESS OF THE GAMING AND BETTING SECTOR IF THE EUROPEAN COURT OF JUSTICE IS RULING OR HAS ALREADY RENDERED JUDGMENTS ON THE MATTER
Doctrine • European convention of Human Rights • freedom to provide services, Gambling Machines, Human Rights • 09 November 2015 • Alessio Scarcella
SLOT MACHINES IN HUNGARY - The European Court of Human Rights rejected the appeal of 26 Hungarian companies of limited liability, which were managing the business of slot machines in Hungary before the Government took the decision to nationalise the entire sector and revoke all public licenses. These companies appealed to the Court claiming the injustice of this treatment from many pointing of view, due to the fact that they didn’t have any concrete internal legal tool against the Government’s decision. Furthermore the companies reported that they were forced by the Government to set up and implement an expensive IT system not long before the sector was nationalize. The Court declared their claims unfounded. Specifically, these companies had complained that the revocation of the licences produced an unjustified interference with their rights and that the lack of any internal legal remedy caused a further violation of the European Convention of Human Rights (property protection), according to article 1 of Protocol 1. The Court observed that the applicants hadn’t exhausted all domestic legal remedies. Specifically, some of these companies had taken legal action against the State with the aim of obtaining a compensation for damages caused by the losses suffered when the new law came into force, presumably, in violation of the European law. The Hungarian judges suspended legal proceedings seeking an opinion case from the European Court of Justice. The European Court of Human Rights considered that in the case under the jurisdiction of the Hungarian judges there were chances of success for the applicants, not only in content but also in view of a possible compensation for damages.