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Swedish Svenska Spel commission report
It did not take long for Scandinavian and other online gambling companies to react to the publication of a Swedish commission report on loosening the stranglehold that the Svenska Spel state monopoly has on Swedish gambling. Criticism of the recommendations came almost immediately, aimed mainly at the suggestion that only sportsbetting should be liberated.
Betsson's CEO, Pontus Lindwall, described the recommendations as a waste of time for his company and other major operators, who had devoted a considerable amount of time and energy to providing the commission with expert input on how best to set up a regulated and open market in Sweden.
Lindwall said that the commissioners should have guarded against discriminating against private operators. “We were hoping for some kind of harmonisation where we could compete on a level playing field, whether it be taxes, access to market and so on, " he said. "Instead, the Inquiry has gone completely the other way and wants to allow only Svenska Spel the opportunity to offer all interactive gaming products except for online sports betting.
"They talk about restricting the games offered by private operators when in fact it is about protecting the state finances. As long as the regulations are this discriminatory they will be a non-starter.”
The Swedish Inquiry on Gambling recommended licensing sports betting products to private operators by 2011 subject to strict regulation and local licensing. However, the recommendations stopped short of including poker and casino activities, which it said carried an increased risk for problem gambling, and should therefore remain the exclusive preserve of the state monopoly.
It is debateable whether such a half-measure is likely to appease the European Commission, which has been pushing Sweden to comply with EU principles of free and fair movement of trade and services among EU member nations.
Unibet chief executive Petter Nylander said the Swedish authorities had been motivated to make concessions in their monopolistic policy because they were nervous about the possibility of being taken before the European Court of Justice by the European Commission, and the consequences of losing such an action. He claimed that the Swedish government was therefore “...trying to keep the Commission happy by giving private operators the minimum and allow them to offer sports betting products to Swedish customers."
Nylander claimed that the Swedish Ministry of Finance had dictated much of the draft, and said in his view it was trying to keep as much revenue from the monopoly as possible.
Swedish operator Expekt expressed surprise at the recommendations, which it characterised as a weak proposal. The recommendations still contravene European law and deny Swedish punters the right to choose which gaming customer they want to play with, the company opined. A spokesman added that maintaining most of the Svenska Spel monopoly whilst allowing only a small part of the market to be free was not a satisfactory or viable solution
Leading gambling companies Unibet, Ladbrokes, Betsson and Expekt will be holding a press conference mid-week where the recommendations will be discussed.
Betradar Launches US Sports Betting Solutions -
With only a few weeks to go until the betting and gambling world descends on ICE in London, Betradar have today announced that they will be launching a comprehensive range of tools and services to any company that will be looking to provide sports betting in a post-PASPA United States.
Final 12 For MPNPT Morocco -
Sunday on the MPN Poker Tour Morocco will see several trophies awarded at the Mazagan Beach Resort, with the largest going to the Main Event champion along with a prize of MAD 400,000 (c.€35,400).
MPNPT Morocco Updates -
Leading the 104 combined survivors from both flights is still Said El-Yousfi with 272,000 chips; visit the MPN Poker Tour blog for an end-of-day recap and full chip counts.
MPN Poker Tour Morocco Day 1A -
The MPN Poker Tour has returned to Morocco this week (January 11-14), featuring the MAD 1.5 million guaranteed Main Event, accompanying side events, and the activities and parties for which this tour has now become known on two continents.
2018 MPN Poker Classic -
The MPN announces the return of The Classic tournament series this January. The series is back following its successful €350,000 guaranteed debut in 2017. This time €500,000 is guaranteed, along with a once in a lifetime trip to Monaco for the Classic Champion.
PDC and Sportradar Renew Deal -
Following this month’s hugely successful World Championship, the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) and long-standing partners Sportradar have renewed their multi-faceted cooperation that will see the leader in sports data and content continuing in their role as official data
Poker Yaar Joins MPN -
Available through download, instant play and mobile, Pokeryaar.com is live with Omaha, Hold’em and Five-Card poker variants, alongside MPN’s Fish Party, the industry’s only progressive jackpot SNGs.
New MPN Poker Rooms Tower Torneos -
Impressed with Microgaming, having already integrated with the Quickfire platform to gain access to some of the industry’s best gaming content, Tower Torneos has extended the relationship with poker.<
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