Almost all EU member states, except some offshore jurisdictions, have imposed strict limitations on (Internet) gambling to control and limit the supply of gambling in their territory and to ensure that revenue of gambling is to a certain extent used for public benefit. Member states have the right to prohibit or restrict games offered from other EU jurisdictions, even if provided by means of information society (Internet, interactive television, mobile betting, etc.). The Scandinavian countries (Finland, Sweden, and to a lesser extent, Norway) apply the most stringent regulatory standards to gambling services whereby only state-controlled operators are competent to offer games of chance. The Nordic model has recently been subject to two challenges in the EFTA Court. Both cases were won by Norway, although the second case will require that Norway implements some even more rigorous rules.
EU lawmakers are very reluctant in regulating Internet gambling. However, due to the growth of Internet gambling and the increasing cross-border competition resulting from Internet gambling, the EU institutions (and especially the European Commission) are becoming more and more actively involved in the debate regarding Internet gambling. The European Commission is under a continuous pressure by U.K. bookmakers to open up the gambling market and to start infringement procedures against member states that protect their markets from cross-border gambling offers.