EU watchdogs probe German and Swedish gambling blockades

Bookies sans frontières

German and Sweden are to be hauled over the coals by EU competition regulators for stopping online gaming firms entering their markets.

New laws that came into force in Germany this month ban online gambling. The European commission is investigating whether the legislation contravenes EU law on free access to markets.

EU internal market commissioner Charlie McCreevy has asked Germany to explain why. "Germany has two months in which to respond. The Commission hopes that the answers it receives will lead to an early and satisfactory resolution of the matter," an EU commission statement said.

Sweden has attracted attention for rules it has placed on online poker and tournaments. It also has a two-month deadline to respond, Reuters reports.

The investigations could eventually end up in the European Court of Justice, which has the power to overturn anti-competitive national laws and levy big fines. ®

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