No Breach of E.U.Laws For Sweden

Published Thursday, July 08, 2010 -

The right of EU countries to ban online gambling was reaffirmed recently by the  European Union Court of Justice, Europe 's top court. It stated that a Swedish lottery law barring newspapers from running advertisements for foreign gambling services doesn't breach European Union law.
The European Court of Justice announced in a statement, "Swedish legislation that prohibits the promotion of gambling organized on the Internet by private operators in other member states for profit is consistent with community law."
This is the latest setback in attempts by the multi-billion-euro Internet betting industry to break domestic monopolies. However it was also stated that Swedish authorities must not impose discriminatory penalties in regards to these violations of the country's lottery laws. It stated that Sweden must amend the penalties for violations of its lottery rules, which treat lotteries organized outside Sweden more seriously, including criminal sanctions, than those organized within the country.
It stated, "Community law precludes national legislation which penalizes the promotion of gambling organized in Sweden without licenses, differently from that of gambling organized outside Sweden ."
The ruling makes this a landmark case since in general; it is illegal under EU law to limit the provision of commercial services. It effectively allows a national government to stop its citizens advertising services (legal in other EU states but illegal at home) as long as it can prove the 'denial' is in the public interest.
The Luxembourg- based court pointed out that in its decision, The ECJ concludes that the Swedish legislation reflects the objective of the exclusion of private profit-making interests from the gambling sector and may be regarded as necessary in order to meet socially beneficial objectives.
The court also emphasized that, "considerations of a cultural, moral or religious nature can justify restrictions on the freedom of gambling operators to provide services, in particular in so far as it might be considered unacceptable to allow private profit to be drawn from the exploitation of a social evil."

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