Trading without Dark Pools
On 31 January 2008 the European Commission announced that it had decided to send an official request for information on national legislation restricting the supply and promotion of certain gambling services to Sweden and Germany. In the case of Sweden, the Commission wishes to verify whether all national measures relating to poker games and tournaments are consistent and therefore compatible with Article 49 of the EC Treaty, which guarantees the free movement of services. The Commission said that its decision does not touch upon the existence of monopolies as such, or on national lotteries. Nor does it have any implications for the liberalisation of the market for gambling services generally, or for the entitlement of Member States to seek to protect the general interest, so long as this is done in a manner consistent with EU law i.e. that any measures are necessary, proportionate and non-discriminatory. The Commission said that a Member State cannot invoke the need to restrict its citizens? access to betting services if at the same time it incites and encourages them to participate in state lotteries, games of chance or betting which benefits the state?s finances. However, as of March 2011 the doors to the Swedish betting market remain firmly locked, with Sweden's monopolist betting Svenska Spel recently stating that it remained confident that it would be soon granted a licence that would allow it to offer its customers a wider range of games. The company said this against a second succesive fall in net revenue, with figures for the year ended December 31st 2010 showing a decline of 2.8 per cent to SEK9.62bn.