Europe’s Top Court Backs Swedish Gambling Laws

     (CN) – Sweden can restrict the advertisement of unlicensed gambling in the country if its laws apply equally to gambling organized in other European Union states, the EU’s high court ruled.

     The ruling is another in a series of decisions aimed at harmonizing gambling laws among European states.
     Swedish newspapers were fined after publishing ads in 2003 and 2004 for private, for-profit gambling companies based out of Malta and the United Kingdom.
     The Swedish legal framework blocks such companies from acquiring gambling licenses, as only companies that work in the public interest may qualify for one.
     The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice affirmed that member states may set their own policy objectives on gambling, and that cultural, moral or religious considerations can justify restrictions on gambling.
     The Swedish laws’ goals excluding for-profit interests are a justified restriction on the ability of Swedish consumers to participate in gambling, the court said.
     In line with an adviser’s preliminary opinion, the court told Sweden to make sure that promoters of non-Swedish gambling companies are not penalized more than promoters of unlicensed gambling companies operating outside of Sweden.

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