Clicking through the sports section on Expressen, what’s notable is the deluge of ads for foreign-run gambling sites.
The law, upheld (in theory) by the Swedish Gaming Board, is perfectly clear:
Prohibition of promoting participation
In order to uphold the Swedish gambling regime the Lotteries Act contains a prohibition of promoting participation in lotteries arranged outside Sweden and unlawful lotteries. The prohibition of participation in foreign or unlawful lotteries covers such activities as selling lottery tickets, receiving stakes or passing on prizes and advertising.
Right now, by carrying their advertising, Expressen is promoting participation in games run by Nordic Bet, Parbet, Spelbolaget, Sportingbet, Fulltiltpoker, 24hPoker, Betway and bet365. Expressen argues that the Swedish law breaches EU regulations and has gone to the EU court to fight its case. In the meantime, the revenue from the advertising will probably fund the legal battle.
What’s with ignoring laws you don’t agree with? Expressen wasn’t exactly sympathetic when certain ministers said they didn’t pay for their TV licences because they disagreed with the system.
Aftonbladet takes the same position as Expressen, but Svenska Dagbladet and Dagens Nyheter do not carry gambling ads. Where is the criticism of the tabloids’ stance? Where are the calls for the editors (who have already been fined by a Stockholm court) to resign?
Maybe it’s considered OK, even bravely defiant, to break a law that we all think is ridiculous. But newspapers, like government ministers, also need to maintain the moral high ground. If they don’t, why should we listen to what they have to say about other law-breakers?