SBC News Swedish Moderates call for Svenska Spel split and sell-off 

Swedish Moderates call for Svenska Spel split and sell-off 

Sweden’s Moderaterna Party (Liberal Conservatives) have submitted a provisional mandate to the Riksdag, outlining plans to overhaul the country’s gambling regime.

Ahead of the General Election on 9 September, Moderaterna has formed a four-party right-wing bloc that will challenge Sweden’s left-of-centre coalition government led by Social Democrat Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. 

Should it win the Autumn elections and come to power, the Party has outlined its intentions to overhaul Sweden’s existing gambling laws, previously reformed under the 2018 Gambling Act.

The Party’s headline measure will see state-owned gambling operator Svenska Spel split into two separate entities for ‘monopoly gaming’ (lottery and keno) and ‘competitive gaming’ (gambling units and sports betting). 

Once divided, the party will instruct the government to “sell the part of Svenska Spel that operates in a competitive market” – as the opposition party deems that operating a gambling business is no longer a state requirement.

Moderaterna’s mandate calls for constitutional provisions to be added to Sweden’s Gambling Act that will require governments to seek Riksdag approval to change gambling laws  as “governments should be limited due to abuse of power during the past term of office”.  

Of significance, the mandate stated that it would reverse the government’s decision to place Swedish gambling under the ‘adjusted moderation’ category for marketing to national consumers. 

“We see it as worrying that the government, through a so-called adjusted requirement for moderation in marketing, is trying to introduce a risk classification the back road.” – the mandate noted.

“There is a risk of further eroding the regulated market if the players who have redeemed a licence pay Swedish tax and maintain a high level of consumer protection do not have the opportunity to market their products to a greater extent. 

“In addition, we believe it is too early to implement changes in the field of marketing as practice has just been established, which with the Government’s proposal would no longer be valid.”

Further advertising changes will see the opposition no longer apply bonus restrictions for licensed operators.

Moderaterna stated that its recommendations had followed the recommendations of the ‘Spelmarknadsutredningen – 2020 Gambling Market Inquiry’ led by Social Democrat MP Anna-Lena Sörenson.

Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS ) Sweden’s online gambling trade association highlighted the significance of the mandate as a right-wing coalition holds a narrow lead over the government, ahead of September’s General Elections.

“With this statement from the Moderate party I welcome the fact that the two largest parties in opposition now have been so clear about their intention to privatize the competitive part of state operator Svenska Spel, if they will form or support a new government after the September general elections in Sweden.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary-General of BOS, Sweden’s online gambling trade association, asserted that ‘to run a commercial gambling business is not appropriate for a state’.

“A state shall set rules for commercial gambling companies and make sure the companies comply with these rules, rather than being an active player on the market itself,” Hoffstedt remarked.

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