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Sweden bans poker apps

19 April 2015

Actually, the European Union (EU) Member States should ensure the free movement of goods, capital and services for individual members. But unfortunately not all EU Member States believe that they are bound to these four freedoms. Within these freedoms online gambling is classified as a service. Therefore, it is surprising that Sweden holds a monopoly on its online gambling for a long time. Recently the Swedish Gambling Commission asked Apple to remove all real money poker apps from the App Store that could be accessed by Swedish residents. The most important poker apps from vendors such as 888poker, PokerStars, Party Poker and other parties are being affected and as a reaction to it Apple prevented access to the poker apps for Swedish citizens.

This step is further proof that Sweden actively tries to protect its monopoly gambling operator, Svenska Spel. Already in 2013, the European Commission (EC) called on Sweden to open its market and to bring it into line with EU policy. Sweden did not respond and did not even want to take the opportunity to explain why it blocks access for foreign gambling operators. After it had refused to implement the recommended changes, the European Commission brought the matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). But Responsible for public administration minister Ardalan Shekarabi had clearly stated in February that Sweden has no plans to relax its gambling regulation as well as to open its market to foreign companies. Sweden would have failed to get its perfect monopoly upright without implementing the ban of the apps in the iStore. For example, PokerStars, one of the operators were willing to accept Swedish players. However, this has now changed, and the monopoly of the Swedish government is now stronger than ever.

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