Eleven states referred to the European Court of Justice for non-compliance with EU law
It’s taken some time to for it to act, but on Thursday the European Commission referred eleven EU member states to the European Court of Justice for various and persistent contraventions of EU law, some in cases involving online betting and poker services.
The move represents something of a breakthrough because, in the case of Sweden which features prominently on the list, this is the first time that the EC has taken a Member State to court over its online gambling legislation.
A number of other pending cases are ready to be referred and in November 2013 new EC infringement proceedings were additionally opened.
The Swedish EC indictment reads:
“Sweden is referred to the Court of Justice for imposing restrictions on the organisation and promotion of online betting services in a way which is inconsistent with EU law. The Commission considers that the way that the Swedish exclusive right system for sport betting is organised is inconsistent with the aim of achieving the public policy objectives of preventing problem gambling and criminal activities and lacks the necessary state control. Changes to the Swedish gambling law in order to make it compliant with EU law have long been envisaged but never implemented.
“In the second case, the referral to the Court of Justice is based on restrictions on the provision and promotion of online poker games. The Commission is of the opinion that the exclusive right holder is not subject to adequate control by the Swedish authorities and that the restrictive policy in the area of poker games is not consistent as the Swedish authorities tolerate the unauthorised offer and promotion of poker games.”
Maarten Haijer, secretary general of remote gambling trade association EGBA said the Association fully supports and commends the EC for taking this decision.
“This is a breakthrough that shows a strong commitment to upholding fundamental European freedoms. Sweden was given many years to bring its legislation into conformity but regretfully there was little commitment to change.
“No Member State regardless of its size should be exempt from scrutiny.”
In its press release announcing the referrals, the European Commission stated:
“In its monthly package of infringement decisions, the European Commission is pursuing legal action against Member States for failing to comply properly with their obligations under EU law. These decisions covering many sectors aim to ensure proper application of EU law for the benefit of citizens and businesses.
“The Commission has today taken 140 decisions, including 39 reasoned opinions and 11 referrals to the European Union’s Court of Justice. Below is a summary of the main decisions.”
For more detail on the nations and cases involved see:
Online Casino News Courtesy of Infopowa