The Swedish government announced plans to accelerate the implementation of a new gaming licensing system following Thursday’s European Commission (EC) decision to refer to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
Minister of public administration Ardalan Shekarabi commented that the ministry intends to examine this week's ECJ referral before a plan of action is decided.
Shekarabi believes it will be the government’s intention to then "accelerate the work that is currently taking place to find a licensing system which can be implemented in Sweden."
The EC's referral is based off the claim that Sweden's sports betting monopoly and Svenska Spel's online poker monopoly are "imposing restrictions on the organisation and promotion of online betting services in a way which is inconsistent with EU law."
According to Gaming Intelligence, the EC further claims that the online poker monopoly is inconsistent since the Swedish authorities tolerate the unauthorized promotion of grey-market poker games.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) seemed pleased by Thursday's referral, since it is the first time the EC has ever referred any of its member states to the ECJ over its gambling legislation.
EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer added, "[The] EGBA fully supports and commends the EC for taking this decision. This is a breakthrough that shows a strong commitment to upholding fundamental European freedoms. Sweden was given many years to bring its legislation into conformity but regretfully there was little commitment to change."
Haijer also believes that this is just the beginning, with the EC most likely referring other states to the ECJ, "no member state regardless of its size should be exempt from scrutiny."
Haijer hopes that if this happens, the EGBA will be able to assist any country referred to the court. "EGBA stands ready to support any member state that now decides to reform their legislation to ensure compliance with EU rules."
Stay tuned to PokerNews as more develops in Sweden's gaming marketplace.