Despite the chances of the European Union intervening to liberate the Swedish online gambling industry, the government’s online poker monopoly, Svenske Spel Poker, will very likely keep its monopolistic position amongst Swedish online gamblers. According to Scandinavian news reports, the government of Sweden – led by Finance Minister, Anders Borg – has been devising legislation that will curtail and discourage foreign online casino and poker room operators from doing business in Sweden.
The business journal, Veckans Affarer, has also confirmed via alleged insider leaks that the Swedish government will be allowing Svenske Spel to continue operating its online poker room monopoly. Depending on actions by the European Union, Svenske Spel may only be required to cut back on its marketing campaigns so long as the government has definitive legislation in place that regulates and taxes online casinos and other internet betting sites.
To get an idea of just how much of a monopoly Svenske Spel is, the online poker room brought in 260 Million and made a net profit of 157 Million in the first quarter of 2007. Online poker is a popular activity amongst the Swedes, which the government knows all too well. Apparently, Minister Borg is following the lead of UK Chancellor Gordon Brown and drawing up legislation woven with tough regulations that make it financially unfeasible for foreign online gaming companies to do business in Sweden.
Just how Svenske Spel fits into the legislative picture remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though, If Sweden does not amend its current policies governing online casino gaming, they could face litigation from the European Court of Justice, whose two month deadline for countries to to modify monopolistic legislation has come to an end.