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ECJ Holds a Magnifying Glass to Online Gambling Laws in Sweden

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) is set to scrutinize the online gambling laws in Sweden, post the European Commissions statement that the country is not in compliance with the business practices & legislation in Britain. Currently, Svenska Spel, the state-owned gambling operator holds exclusive rights for online gambling in Sweden. The European Commission stated that the country had breached certain European business regulation related to restrictive monopoly as well as the free movement of goods & services within the EU.

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Speeding-Up the Process

The EC also stated that Swedens government & gambling authorities should make an attempt to give some information and provide clarification with reference to regulating the existing online gambling industry in Sweden. Last Friday, Ardalan Shekarabi, the Swedish Minister of Public Administration sent his response to the European Commission. In his response, he stated that the government is eager to speed up and implement an elaborate online gambling framework as well as a completely new licensing system.

Winds of Change

The European Gaming & Betting Association lauded the European Commissions move and said that it was definitely a breakthrough decision. The former represents a number of front-running privately-owned online gaming and betting operators. This development is a step in the right direction. In a statement, the Secretary General of EGBA, Maarten Haijer said that this is a major breakthrough and a very clear indication of a strong commitment to upholding all fundamental European freedoms.

In 2013 November, the European Commission had stated that it will take steps to thoroughly investigate all the online gambling licensing procedures that currently exist in Poland, Romania, Belgium and Czech Republic. The idea was the effort will ensure that the national frameworks will toe the European business market & regulatory lines.

In February 2015, Sweden's Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi stated that the deregulation of the Swedish gambling market was not something that was on the government's agenda. However, in September 24 2015, he announced that the Swedish government would now infact investigate the abolishment of the gambling monopoly and the introduction of a Swedish licensing system. In March 31 2017, Mr. Hakan Hallstedt, handed over a 1,340 page proposal regarding the licensing system to Shekarabi. At the core of the proposal is the suggestion that private companies will at last be able to obtain licenses for online casinos, betting, poker and bingo, as well as land-based horse race betting and sports betting.

In the interim period the Swedish courts moved to uphold the Swedish gambling monopoly. On 15 March 2017, for example, the Supreme Administrative Court of Sweden rejected an appeal from Tranell International Ltd, that it had been unfairly refused a licence to operate in the horse race betting market. The Court found that the monopoly position of ATG in the horse race betting market remained in line with the principles set out in the caselaw of the ECJ as regards the notion of proportionality.

 

 

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        Updated: Nov 23, 2017 by Diana Sterling » TAGS: No Tags