When the Swedish online gambling group Betsson challenged the government land gambling monopoly by successfully opening a betting shop in Stockholm last month the sparks were bound to fly. It appears that the Swedish Gaming Board made good on its threat to impose heavy fines for contravening Swedish gambling policy, and this week Betsson disputed the validity of its action in this regard.
The Swedish nespaper The Local.se reports that Betsson has engaged the Ombudsmen of Justice (JO) over the Gaming Board’s plans to fine it.
Betsson's feisty CEO, Pontus Lindwall questions how the Gaming Board can base a decision on paragraph 38 of the Swedish lottery law when the law’s validity has been called into question by both the Swedish Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. He was referring to claims that European Union law (which calls for free movement of goods and services between EU member nations) supercedes local protectionist and inequitable laws.
The reaction of the Ombudsmen – and the European Commission which has already noted Swedish government monopolistic policies – will be watched with interest.