Questions around the monopolistic nature of Swedish online gambling are again under the spotlight as the remote gambling industry trade body European Gaming and Betting Association again urges the European Commission to trigger infringement proceedings, and the Swedes stall for more time to comply with EU norms through reform measures, promising that changes might be ready by the end of this year, but claiming that further study is necessary.
Leading the charge from EGBA is general secretary Maarten Haijer, who says that the Swedish government had been given more than enough opportunity to change and now is the time for action.
Explaining the need for more time, Sweden's undersecretary for the treasury, Erik Thedéen, recently told the EC's head of cabinet Olivier Guersent that the Swedish government is working on the reform measures and hoped to have them ready for implementation before the end of 2014. EC sanctions could delay the process, however.
Reporting back on his meeting with Guersent, the undersecretary said: “The European Commission gave no indication about their future behaviour. The parties agreed to hold a dialogue at the official level. We hope they will not sue us.”
An exasperated Haijer claims that the Swedes appear to be in a continual state of “imminent” change over the last several years, with systematic postponements and delays in real amendments.
“Sweden has had an ample time to adapt its regulation to comply with EU law. Yet, nothing has happened,” he says, asserting that unless the EC acts decisively its future authority and ability to enforce EU principles will come into question.