Is gambling about to go private in Sweden? Another Swedish party joins the motion to end the nation’s gambling monopoly – and this time it is the ruling party.
The Moderate Party, which holds the rule at the moment, announced at its annual conference last Saturday that they have decided to back the de-monopolization of the Swedish gambling industry and the privatization of Svenska Spel, the national gambling company which was recently part of a legal trademark dispute.
MP Tomas Tobe said to Gambling Intelligence Group that “by December 2008, an in-depth report on the gambling market will be released following an investigation by Jan Nyren, legal counsel of the police authority, but the party congress did not want to wait for this and voted for change to take place more rapidly.”
Out of the four political parties that comprise Sweden’s ruling coalition (Moderate, Center, People’s and Christian Democrat), only the Christian Democrats have failed to support the anti-monopoly bid yet. Another point in favor of this anti-monopoly vote is that since the EC Treaty is bound to object to this monopoly sooner or later, MP Tobe stresses that it is preferable to take action proactively rather than wait to be compelled by the European Court of Justice.
Although this is a promising start, there is still a long way to go: a licensing system must be designed and agreed upon, as well as legislation to rule over advertising, marketing and taxation for gambling industries. MP Tobe declared that “we are open to discussions with the gaming companies in order to establish an effective method of taxation rather than a broad turnover based approach.”
Another expected outcome after the gambling market becomes open to competitors will be the privatization of Svenska Spel, to better enable it to compete in an open market. A rough estimate of its value places it at €7.05 billion, almost double the size of Ladbrokes Plc.