Freedom to provide services – Taxation – Winnings from casinos

Judgment

Joint cases
C-344/13
and C-367/13

22.10.2014

Parties

Jurisdiction

Formation

Judge Rapporteur

Advocate General

Subject-matter

Reference for a preliminary ruling

Cristiano Blanco e.a.

v.

Agenzia delle Entrate – Direzione Provinciale I di Roma – Ufficio Controlli

CJEU

3rd Ch.

C. Toader

/

Freedom to provide services

Key-words

Freedom to provide services — Restrictions — Tax legislation — Income from winnings from games of chance — Difference in taxation between winnings obtained abroad and those from national casinos

Summary

Articles 56 and 52 TFEU preclude legislation of a Member State which subjects winnings from games of chance obtained in casinos in other Member States to income tax and exempts similar income from that tax if it is obtained from casinos in its national territory. A discriminatory restriction is compatible with EU law only if it falls under an express derogation, such as Article 52 TFEU to which Article 62 TFEU refers, and which is intended to safeguard public policy, public security and public health. Excluding the benefit of a tax exemption in a general manner would appear to be a disproportionate approach, to combatting money laundering, other methods being available to the Member States in this respect, such as Directive 2005/60 which is intended to combat money laundering and which applies to casinos.

Finally, taxation by a Member State of winnings from casinos in other Member States and the exemption of such winnings from casinos situated on its territory are not a suitable and coherent means of ensuring the attainment of the objective of combatting compulsive gambling, as such an exemption is in fact likely to encourage consumers to participate in games of chance which allow them to benefit from such an exemption.

Noteworthy

Classical judgment on discriminatory restrictions to freedom of circulation – tests of appropriateness and proportionality clearly and carefully operated.