Denmark, along with other Scandinavian countries – including Norway and Sweden – has a state gambling monopoly that is at odds with EU regulations, and former Danish Member of Parliament Freddy Blak wants to see his country's long-drawn monopoly come to an end.
The European Commission had already noticed and condemned this monopoly four years ago, instituting an infringement procedure against Danske Spil, the Danish gambling monopoly. However, four years on nothing has changed: according to Mr. Blak, Danske Spil continues to violate Articles 43 and 49 of the EC Treaty (freedom of establishment and free movement of services respectively.)
This is why former MP Blak decided to write an open letter to the European Union compliance commissioner, Charlie McCreevy, urging him to take this protracted ruling into the European Court of Justice at once, to end what has become the longest running case of any EU country.
In his letter, Blak stands up for foreign providers of sports betting, which he claims were "discriminated against and ridiculed in Denmark over the past six months." He has also highlighted what he considers the hypocrisy of the government’s official stance on problem gambling when contrasted with the protection and publicity lavished on Danske Spil. He closes his letter citing the voice of the people: a recent survey published in the Danish daily Ekstra Bladet showed that 74 percent of the 15 000 interviewed Danes would like to see the end of the state gaming monopoly and a more open gambling market.
Blak’s words hope to rouse Commissioner McCreevy and the EU to action: "Mr. Commissioner, it must be time to take further actions on this issue," writes Blak. "The time has simply come for the Commission to have Denmark and the Danish Gambling Authority tried before the European Court of Justice."