SBC News BOS warns Wykman of Svenska Spel encroachment in online casino

BOS warns Wykman of Svenska Spel encroachment in online casino

Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), Sweden’s Trade Association for Online Gambling, has called on the government to take further actions against Svenska Spel’s presence in gambling.

Writing an op-ed in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, Gustaf Hoffstedt, the Secretary General of BOS, agreed with the view expressed by Financial Markets Minister Niklas Wykman that “there is no political order for a state company to operate casinos.”

The Minister made his comment addressing the coalition government’s proposal to shut down the Casino Cosmopol business operated by Svenska Spel since 1994.

As revealed this May, the Swedish government will undertake a review of the Casino Cosmopol monopoly business, considering its growing costs and financial losses reported since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January, Svenska Spel terminated Casino Cosmopol’s venues in the cities of Malmo and Gothenburg, choosing to operate Cosmopol’s remaining casino in the Kungsgatan district of Stockholm.

The closure of the venue and Cosmopol’s business is deemed highly likely, considering the unit incurs yearly losses of €6m and hinders Svenska Spel’s mandate to raise funds for Swedish sports and civic causes.

SBC News BOS warns Wykman of Svenska Spel encroachment in online casino
Gustaf Hoffstedt: BOS

BOS welcomed the Government’s memorandum to review Cosmopol, in which the government must ask “the principled question of the inappropriateness of state casino operations, rather than the fact that Casino Cosmopol’s operations for several years have been loss-making and thus its need for subsidies from us taxpayers.”

The trade body has long held that Svenska Spel’s remit should be solely applied to operating Sweden’s national lottery, with the state-owned company having no presence in the markets of sports betting, casino, and online games.

BOS views that Svenska Spel’s presence in the online gambling market has breached the rules and conditions determined by Sweden’s Gambling Act of 2018 – the legislative framework applied to regulate Swedish online gambling.

Though BOS supports the government’s decision to close Cosmopol, it demands to know why there have been no interventions regarding Svenska Spel’s expansion of its online portfolio.

Gustaf Hoffstedt argued: “Against this background, it appears strange that Casino Cosmopol’s owner, government-owned Svenska Spel, is aggressively launching its new online casino, Momang.”

As Financial Markets Minister, Niklas Wykman oversees responsibilities related to Swedish gambling’s regulatory overhaul.

In 2023, Swedish stakeholders anticipated a review of Svenska Spel monopoly rights, including the potential split and sale of its gaming and sports betting business.

However, the memorandum to split Svenska Spel was rejected by Sweden’s new centre-right coalition government, who, although supportive of the motion, chose to stick with strengthening consumer protections, impose B2B licenses, and implement stricter advertising rules.

Gustaf Hoffstedt concluded: “If the government and minister truly believe in the inappropriateness of running state-owned casinos, they must logically apply the same conclusion to the government’s own online casinos.

Otherwise, dismantling Casino Cosmopol may seem like a ploy to score cheap political points on a necessary measure (since Casino Cosmopol is loss-making), while Minister Wykman is apparently unwilling to face the consequences of his own principles regarding state casinos.”

 

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