EU Commission putting pressure on state lottery monopolies

According to Denmark media, indications are that the European Union (EU) is ready to take seven countries to the European Court of Justice next month in connection with complaints about their state-run gambling monopolies.

Denmark, Germany, Italy, Holland, Sweden, Hungary, and Finland, are the first seven countries expected to be taken to court. They are alleged to be in violation of EU law which requires member states to uphold an atmosphere of free and fair competition for all EU firms unless there are legitimate social concerns.

These countries allow a state-run lottery or gambling system, but don't allow other online gambling.

Sweden and Hungary's policies have been challenged this year by companies seeking to operate online gambling businesses in those countries.

EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, the EU commission responsible for the issue is building cases against eight countries in addition to the initial seven countries who had already been warned in the spring about the possible violation of EU policy.

The EU commission has come up against countries' politicians and gambling monopolies in its efforts to open up the gambling markets there, and they've also faced opposition from the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. Both institutions have rejected proposals for increased cross-border competition in the gambling market.

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