The question whether restrictive Swedish gambling laws, which prevent both national and foreign gambling companies from offering gambling services without proper authorization, are in violation of European Community law continues to be much debated inside and outside courtrooms in Sweden. The principal objection concerns whether Swedish law is in conformity with the basic principles of free movement of services and the right of establishment. The European Commission (Commission) has, as a result of many complaints about Swedish gambling legislation, launched proceedings against Sweden, which are still under process. Further, a substantial number of cases are under review in both administrative and criminal proceedings. With regard to one of these cases, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recently adjudicated a preliminary ruling on the Swedish legislation’s conformity with Community law.
This chapter addresses the legal situation on the Swedish gambling market with specific focus on Internet gambling. It includes a brief description of the various statutes governing gambling, their application and the effect of the legislation on Internet gambling. There are also some brief comments on Swedish gambling policy and particular attention given to the administrative and criminal case law in the field of Swedish gambling and the impact of ECJ case law in Sweden.