Sweden can ban gambling ads by private, for-profit operators from abroad, according to a ruling by the highest court of the European Union.
Validating Sweden’s state-sponsored gambling monopoly, and dealing a blow to the EU’s commercial online operators, the European Court of Justice ruled that the “Swedish legislation which prohibits the promotion [advertising] of gambling organised on the Internet by private operators in other Member States for profit is consistent with Community law”.
In support, the court cited its 2009 ruling in a similar case involving Portugal’s sports betting monopoly.
Significantly, the court stated in the Sweden case that Member States have the right to “exclude private profit-making interests from the gambling sector” and “may restrict the operation of gambling to public or charitable bodies”.
Friedrich Stickler, president of European Lotteries, hailed the ruling:
“The Court has given full backing to the gambling model we stand for, a model from which the whole of society benefits. It has once again rejected the arguments of the many private online gambling operators which pursue purely commercial interests.”
EU high court defends Swedish monopoly
July 14, 2010