UK gambling group Ladbrokes let the Swedes know how it feels about the recent recommendations on monopoly reform in no uncertain terms this week, putting out a strongly worded statement on the issue.
The statement slammed the Swedish National Gambling Consultation on online gaming recommendations as ‘protectionist’ and anti-competitive in nature.
The recommendations suggest more competition for state-owned Svenska Spel in terms of opening up sportsbetting to some extent – but not horseracing, casino, poker, bingo and lotteries – leaving these the exclusive preserve of the state monopoly
John O'Reilly, Managing Director of Remote Betting and Gaming for Ladbrokes said in the statement: "This is a last-ditch attempt to avoid a referral to the European Court of Justice for Sweden's protectionist and unfair betting and gaming laws and yet, even now, the report seeks to extend the reach of the monopoly to cover online gaming including poker and bingo and further enshrines protection in land-based lotteries, slot machines, casinos and horseracing.
“None of the European Union principles of proportionality or free and fair competition across borders have been taken into account in this paper. It is more monopoly, not less. The impact will be to protect government revenues, penalise competitors and ensure a negative effect on the consumer."
"All operators like Ladbrokes ask is the ability to compete on a level playing field,” O’Reilly added. “We see no reason why Ladbrokes cannot abide by Swedish regulations as well as any monopoly operator. That's what a licensing and regulatory system should ensure.”