The conflict between Ladbrokes and Swedish gaming monopoly Svenska Spel is escalating fast: it went from a threat to a lawsuit in a matter of days and it is becoming more complex as Ladbrokes has now countersued Svenska Spel accusing it of false advertising.

Svenska Spel threatened and then sued Ladbrokes earlier this month because they object to Ladbrokes’ advertising copy, which reads “Svenska Spel, Engelska Odds” (“Swedish games, English Odds”) and has a logo that is allegedly similar to Svenska Spel’s. This apparent breach of copyright gave Svenska Spel footing to take Ladbrokes to court, where they have demanded a temporary injunction to halt Ladbrokes’ use of the phrase during the trial, as well as a fine of SEK1 million for every time they have used the slogan. The Swedish Market court has rejected the injunction, as it continues to consider the case.

Moving on with business in the middle of this conflict, Svenska Spel has been advertising recently with the phrase “Svenska Spel is a world leader in responsible gambling” and also claiming they are “a credible alternative to illegal (gaming.)” But Ladbrokes is apparently not having any of it, and they have countersued claiming that these phrases are misleading: they object to the use of the word “illegal” to describe non-Swedish gaming operators, considering it to be defamatory; and they also deny that Svenska Spel is a leader in responsible gaming, a claim which they consider unfounded. Not to be less than Svenska Spel, they are also demanding a SEK1 million fine for every time Svenska Spel uses the allegedly misleading copy.

The CEOs from both companies – Lasse Dilschmann for Ladbrokes Scandinavia and Anders Hägg as Svenska Spel's interim CEO – are also waging a war of words outside of court through declarations to the press, but the real winner will be decided in court.

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