BOS supports rejection of Swedish horse racing levy

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, BOS, has supported the Gambling Market Inquiry’s rejection of a potential horse racing levy.

A proposal to introduce a five percent betting levy had been seen by horse racing industry figures in Sweden as a means to distribute funds to the sector.

However, the Gambling Market Inquiry rejected the proposal in its entirety, a decision which has received the approval of BOS.

“We agree with the Gambling Market Inquiry’s conclusion to reject this proposal. We do this based on both principal as well as practical reasons,” said Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General of BOS. “A principal reason is that you cannot own, and consequently not charge for, information that is open to everyone.

“This includes results that are often used in various types of betting. A practical reason is that the proposed market fee would be as large as the entire gross gaming revenue. 

“Everything that remains after the winnings have been paid out to the winners would have to go to cover the levy fee. Few gaming companies would be interested to operate under such conditions.”

In the Gambling Market Inquiry’s initial report, it was noted that investors had been tasked with examining the introduction of betting levys in other countries, with a particular emphasis on the horse racing sectors of the UK and Denmark.

It was further stated, however, that the ‘reasons and background’ for the introduction for a betting levy in these markets ‘differ them from Swedish conditions,’ prompting the Inquiry to argue that a mandatory fee for horse racing was not appropriate.

In addition, the Inquiry also maintained that the current monetary support network for Swedish racing, in which surplus profits from the trotting and galloping sports own operator ATG are funnelled back into the sector, is a ‘sustainable financial model’.

This model, it was argued, has been further bolstered by ATG’s status as a dominant player in Sweden’s betting market, as well as across the wider Scandinavian region after the acquisition of a Danish gaming group, fuelling an increase in net gaming revenues from 2019 onwards.

Additional comments asserted that should market conditions change in Sweden the horse racing industry will remain in ‘good conditions on a commercial basis’ to enter into media rights, sponsorship and sports data agreements, on a similar basis to other sports.

However, investors still maintained that this too was unlikely due to ATG’s ‘competitive advantage’ over other well established brands and betting pool operators.

The proposal of the mandatory Swedish racing levy had been previously rejected by an independent inquiry carried out by Social Democrat MP Anna-Lena Sörenson on behalf of Sweden’s Rikstag.

 The inquiry was commissioned as a requisite to Sweden launching its re-regulated its online gambling marketplace in 2019, in which Sörenson was tasked with reviewing market standards and duties following year-1 proceedings.

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