2/1/10 – The past week has been another huge one for the Right2bet campaign in terms of the freedom and fairness to gamble in Europe, with news stories breaking across the continent causing all kinds of confusion.
The Right2bet blog has recently been looking at the current cases brought before the ECJ regarding both Sweden and Austria, two countries accused of coming down rather harshly on the ‘criminals' who have broken their strict and confusing laws on gambling both online and off.

In the Swedish case, the perpetrators were two newspaper editors, who stand accused of allowing a fully EU-licensed betting operator to run an advertisement in their newspaper, a regular advertising haunt of the Swedish monopoly Svenska Spel. The monopoly, well-known for past litigious actions against any possible competition, persuaded its owners in government to step in and come down hard on the editors, a move which may yet see them come unstuck, with the ECJ deciding to take a longer look at the way the monopoly runs the industry.

Over in Austria, a local man stands accused of running an unlicensed, land-based casino. Fair enough, one may say, a casino should be regulated and licensed, if only to avoid disputes and ensure fairness. Our Austrian friend, however, makes a very good point in his defence; the laws in Austria are currently set up to protect Casino Austria and allow for little competition.

However, Casino Austria, like several other European monopolies, is only partly owned by the Austrian Government, with the majority of shares held by private investors. Therefore, their aim as a business is not the protection of the Austrian populace, but continued profit and revenue, completely contrary to the remaining loopholes which some governments claim allow their monopolies to continue, leaving any private operators stuck firmly between a rock and a hard place.

Not to be outdone, the French Government have also tacked on yet another restrictive addition to their gambling bill, this time taking aim at French based internet sites who dare to advertise, link to or mention operators who have not received a licence to operate in the country, regardless of their stature within the rest of the E.U. This is further confused by the fact it would also include large multinational companies covering several territories, and search engines such as Google!