Republika Srpska Lottery Tender Declared Unconstitutional
Significant step in restoring the rule of law at the RS betting and gaming market
The Republika Srpska Constitutional Court (case number U-67/19) annulled as unconstitutional and illegal The RS Government Ordinance which served was legal ground for the Republika Srpska Lottery 2019 public tendering procedure to form a joint enterprise operating electronic games of chance. The process, resulting in joint-stock enterprise being incorporated with Swiss-based company Casinos Austria VLT AG, is now officially unconstitutional.
The decision is de facto a full acknowledgment of validity of arguments presented by EOGL members from March 2019 onwards. The unprecedented public tendering procedure caused serious market distortions and paved the way for state-sponsored cartel in Republika Srpska betting and gaming market.
Series of Breaches and Regulatory Misconduct of the Republika Srpska Lottery and Ministry of Finance
Back in 2019, the RS Parliament approved the new Gambling Law sponsored by the Ministry of Finance via urgent procedure and without public hearings. From the day one, its provisions blatantly breach the principles of the rule of law, inviolability of property rights and free enterprise. The Law skyrocketed the incidence of underage gambling. Terminals for electronic games are now allowed to be placed within catering establishments and entertainment facilities where minors are predominantly circulating each school day.
The most incomprehensible segment of this public tendering was a unproportioned legal and economic eligibility criteria – annual business turnover of at least 3 bn EUR in each of three financial years prior to public tendering, no participation allowed for consortium as a form of bidding entity to match the turnover threshold). This was a clear intention to create unfair barriers of entry to any company so far present in national gambling market.
EOGL members look forward and rightly expect the recent ruling will bring us closer to restoring the rule of law at the RS betting and gaming market.