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Barriers for Lotteries in EU


Prohibitions and restrictions

Specific prohibitions and restrictions with respect to lotteries include:

– Prohibition to establish a branch abroad or acquire a qualified participation in a foreign company if such an acquisition would result in a reduction in revenue from the licence fee (Austria)

– Prohibition against sale of tickets in foreign lotteries (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Finland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia and the United Kingdom). In the Netherlands, (foreign) operators cannot offer foreign lottery products, unless validly licensed by the Dutch authorities, which currently however, refuse to do so. The same is valid for Austria and Denmark.

– Limit on the amount of stakes (in Sweden, the value of the prizes in the lottery must correspond to at least 35% and at the most 55% of the value of the stakes).


Most Member States licensing requirements for lottery operators (Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Sweden and the United Kingdom) and thus limit the number of operators (Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Slovenia). Some countries only issue a single licence (Austria -Österreichische Lotterien Gesellschaft mbH, Denmark – Dansk Tipstjeneste A/S, Ireland -An Post, Malta -National Lottery-Intralot, United Kingdom – Camelot Group and Italy). Others clearly have created a legal monopoly: Belgium (Loterie Nationale), Cyprus (Cyprus Government Lottery), France (La Française des Jeux), Greece (Direction des loteries étatiques), Ireland (An Post National Lottery Company), Latvia (Latvijas Loto), Portugal (Santa Casa da Misericordia de Lisboa), Spain and Hungary (Szerencsejáték Rt.- The National Lottery of Hungary). Some of the German Länder have created express monopolies, others maintain de facto monopolies.

Often, the license is also limited in time: Austria (15 years), Denmark (5-10 years), Finland (5 years) and the Netherlands (licences to run the bank-giro lottery, the postcode lottery, the lotto, the instant lottery and the sponsor lottery are issued for a 5 year period, while the licence issued to the state lottery is indefinite).

Specific requirements

Some Member States maintain specific legal requirements as to the type of legal entity entitled to run a lottery (Denmark, Estonia, Finland (must be a non-profit Finnish legal entity), Germany, Lithuania, Slovakia and Sweden (must be a non-profit Swedish legal entity), or nationality requirements for the operators (Finland and Sweden).

Often, the law imposes residence or domicile requirements on the operators (Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom).

Some countries also impose specific requirements with respect to the players. Thus, France requires that the players be resident in the country, whereas in the Netherlands, De Lotto’s Rules and Regulations require that each player have a Dutch bank account.

In some countries, lotteries can only be organized for charitable purposes (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands (except for the State Lottery, which donates a part of its proceeds to the State Treasury) and Sweden).


Sometimes the advertising of lottery products is limited (Estonia, Finland, the Netherlands (where advertisements for gambling services must comply with a self-regulatory code), Lithuania, Spain and the United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)). Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom prohibit advertising for foreign lotteries.

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