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Sweden Considering Online Gambling Ban

30 March, 2009,  Milton Shaw, Staff writer

While the moves are afoot in the US to have its Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act ("UIGEA") repealed, and governments that have enacted anti-online gambling legislation like Australia and Italy grapple with practical enforcement issues, Sweden is considering a gambling ban of its own.  The proposed ban has been outlined in a Swedish Government report.

One of  the suggestions set out in the Government report is that sole responsibility to decide what is and is not acceptable in terms of Internet content will be up to a Swedish government agency which in turn  will issue orders for ISPs to block specific websites.

Currently a consultative process is underway to assess reaction to the proposed ban, with views from private operators, local government authorities, relevant organizations and public service officials all welcomed before the deadline of Wednesday April 1.  And it seems the overwhelming response thus far is negative.

Principle grounds for objection so far are that that the proposed ban represents a undue censorship of freedom of consumer choice.

Major ISP Bahnhof has condemned the proposal, questioning whether it is appropriate for the state to decide which internet destinations residents may visit.  Also concerned with the principle of state controlled access are The Swedish Post and Telecommunications Agency, the High Courts and the Agency for Administrative Development who would all play an integral part in the operation of any laws should they come to fruition.




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