Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), Sweden’s online gambling trade association, has backed the decision of Social Democrat MP Anna-Lena Sörenson to recommend against a mandatory levy for Swedish horseracing.
Sörenson had been tasked with leading ‘gambling market enquiry’, evaluating whether the Riksdag should impose a mandatory levy on Swedish horseracing wagers mirroring bookmaker obligations in the UK, France and Denmark.
The enquiry had been launched following appeals made by government sanctioned racetrack operator ATG that a levy should be imposed on licensed betting incumbents to support Sweden’s racing community.
ATG Chief Executive Hasse Lord Skarplöth had urged the government to back a levy, as ATG had lost its racing exclusivity with increased competition joining the market.
Skarplöth argued that licensed incumbents should contribute a fair share towards racing prizes, animal welfare and racetrack maintenance which ATG currently paid through an annual surplus of SEK 2 billion.
Writing an open-editorial in Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri, Sörenson rejected the levy propositions and ATG appeals.
Sörenson explained that despite a higher number of bookmakers competing in the marketplace, ATG concerns were unfounded as the operator and its owning Svensk Travsport maintained a 98% share of Swedish racing.
In her assessment, Sörenson stated that ATG had expanded its market privileges as it was able to maintain its racing concession, whilst expanding its product portfolio offering its customers and new sportsbook and online casino service.
BOS secretary-general Gustaf Hoffstedt, who held a seat on the Market Enquiry’s, said that Sörenson had made the right decision. He commented: “I welcome this sensible conclusion from the Enquiry. On a principal level, it regards whether one can own data that is open for everyone, it may be the outcome of a horse race, a presidential election or tomorrow’s weather.
“The answer to that question must be that there cannot be any ownership to such open and accessible information. The conclusion from the Gambling Market Enquiry to dismiss the idea of an ownership to such data goes in line with the BOS advocacy.”