The parties of the initial proceedings are the same as the ones of the proceedings already pending since last year registered as Case C-42/07 (cf. German Gaming Law updated No. 79), but with inverted procedural roles. The plaintiff of the current proceedings is Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML). SCML is exclusively entitled to operate lotteries and games of chance similar to lotteries under Portuguese law. The defendants it sued are the Portuguese Football League (Liga Portuguesa de Fuetbol Profissional (CA/LPFP) and two bwin companies (the main company of the group being listed on the stock exchange, the affiliated company sued here holding a Gibraltar license). The matter in dispute is the bookmaker’s sponsoring contract with the Portuguese Football League.The County Court of Porto referred three questions to the ECJ:
- It wants to have clarified, whether the state monopoly on games of chance and bets under Portuguese law complies with Community law rules, in particular with the freedom to provide services, free competition and the prohibition of state monopolies.
- In a second question the Portuguese court inquires about the criteria for interpreting national provisions restricting these Community law principles. It would like to assess whether such restrictions are admissible in the light of Community law rules.
- Finally, the court inquires whether a ban on advertising games of chance complies with the principles of Community law, in particular with the freedom to provide services, free competition, and the prohibition of monopolies, if there is an exception under which Santa da Misericórdia de Lisboa can advertise the games of chance it organises.