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Social skills

Europe is playing it safe when it comes to 'social evils', says Paul Stanley

26 July 2010

National rules regulating the gambling industry are a source of frequent challenges ending up at the ECJ. The question national courts often ask is whether this or that provision of national legislation falls foul of article 49 EC (now article 56 TFEU), which prohibits restrictions on the freedom to provide – and, it has been held, to receive – services within the EU. However, the prohibition is subject to exceptions, and in the field of gambling regulation the ECJ takes a generous view of those exceptions. This has been confirmed in the latest decision of the court in Joined Cases C-447/08 Sjöberg and C-448/08 Gerdin.

Mr Sjöberg and Mr Gerdin were editors of Swedish newspapers that published advertisements for foreign betting companies. In so doing, they acted contrary to Swedish criminal law and were ordered to pay fines. The first question was whether Swedish rules banning the promotion of foreign gambling complied with EU law.

The avowed pur...

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