The European Commission have laid down a serious marker to any country looking to mess with gambling laws, after filing a lawsuit against Sweden on Thursday because they failed to change it’s laws on gaming that conflict with EU laws on freedom of movement for services. Sweden restricts state-held operations and domestically based operations to work within the country only, making it much harder for the market to become flooded and/or monopolized.
The case itself revolves around the way that Sweden deals with online betting and online poker games specifically. It grants licenses to state-owned or domestic operators, and this means that no foreign owned investment can come into the Swedish gambling scene. While some forms of gambling are allowed to be restricted to minimize the risk of addiction or financial disrepair for citizens, the EU Commission has deemed the Swedish measures to be too harsh.
They also claim that due to a lack of supervision from commercial authorities, there isn’t enough evidence made on the part of Sweden to set up in this fashion. This has been a long-standing battle since 2010, when Sweden first produced the introduction to these new laws within the country. It has created much friction and problems ever since, and was brought in to try and help Sweden to break the monopoly across a variety of the European gaming markets, Sweden included.
These problems look like remaining for some time in the near future, as there has been no indication from the EU Commission that they would consider altering their stance to tighten restrictions against the regular usage of online gaming software. Instead, a long battle between the Swedish and the EU looks set to place for many more years to come.
This causes significant problems for the EU as it looks to try and make a reasoned case with other nations about trying to carry out a similar objective, albeit in a different manner, meaning this may stand to create problems between the EU Commission and various gaming authorities across Europe.