Thursday January 23 ,2014 : WAR OF WORDS BETWEEN MEDIA AND SVENSKA SPEL CONTINUES (Update)
But Swedish monopoly does not comment on its possible European CommIssion problems.
Our readers will recall the bitter exchanges late last year between Swedish gambling monopoly Svenska Spel and Per Hultengård, CEO of the Swedish media trade association Tidningsutgivarna.
The dispute centred on Svenska Spel's attempts to stop local media from carrying competitive adverts from foreign operators.
Svenska Spel chairman Anitra Steen and Hultengård slugged it out with their respective arguments in the local business and financial press, with the latter questioning Svenska Spel's boasted commitment to protect consumers by pointing out the increases in its marketing activities.
Hultengård also drew attention to the fact that the European Commission was less than pleased with the monopolistic nature of Swedish online gambling.
Perhaps still smarting from the exchanges, this week Svenska Spel took to the online media by commenting to the publication Poker News on the issue, emphasising that the Tidningsutgivarna claims that it was not doing enough to guard against problem gamblers were not true, and detailing the precautionary measures it takes.
The monopoly also pointed out that it had stopped its bonus and discounting practices on games known to present a greater danger to problem gamblers.
But perhaps it was what Svenska Spel did not say that drew more attention…its situation vis-a-vis the European Commission.
Despite being asked to comment on the possibility of European Commission action regarding its monopolistic nature and exclusion of operators from other EU nations, the monopoly declined to say anything further.
Only last year the Commission noted that Sweden’s "…restrictive policies in the area of gambling services are not applied in a systematic and consistent manner and that the holder of exclusive right is not subject to strict state control."