A lot of disapproval has been voiced in response to Malta’s recent decision to shield its casino businesses from legal proceedings taken in other European nations. This initiative was previously attacked by Germany and Austria, and now the Dutch government is adding its voice to the criticism, putting pressure on Malta to rethink its attitude toward Bill 55. Germany and Austria had already denounced this attempt.
In response to lawsuits targeting operators licensed in Malta, the country attempted to establish a legal framework granting these operators immunity from foreign court proceedings. The law provides that a Maltese court may throw out a complaint brought by a foreign government against an operator.
Bill 55 was passed by the Maltese parliament in June, but it has been met with opposition and questions raised about whether it complies with EU law. In light of this, legal experts in the Netherlands are demanding that their government publicly oppose the measure and exert pressure on Malta to rethink. These efforts are being led by two prestigious legal firms, Loonstein Lawyers and Van Diepen Van der Kroef Lawyers
Not content with just voicing their disapproval of the measure, the law firms are participating in active litigation against businesses holding a license issued by Malta. Their case goes beyond infringement of EU law, alleging instead that Bill 55 is also in violation of the fundamental norms of the Netherlands.
The Background of the Issue
The disagreement over whether Bill 55 can be implemented stems from a collection of legislative frameworks that were first adopted in 2009. The culmination of these frameworks was the creation and adoption of new legislation such as Regulation (EU) No. 1215/2012 and the revised Recast Brussels Regulation (RBR). These laws were drafted to provide direction for the administration of civil and commercial litigation and enforcement within the European Union.
Still, it is unclear if certain operators have the legal right to provide their services in different European nations because of the lack of uniform gambling rules throughout the region. German and Austrian courts have established precedents requiring operators to compensate clients for monetary damages they incur because of operating without proper licenses. As a rebuttal, operators often argue that their Maltese licenses provide them special rights, but this is not always accepted.
The government of Malta is certain that Bill 55 will give a way out of any situation when its legal principles are challenged in court because of the flexibility provided by these regulatory mechanisms.