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Sweden to dismantle online gambling monopoly?

According to a report this week in the English language Swedish newspaper TheLocal, the ruling Christian Democrat political party is actively considering a U-turn on its traditional policy of support for the country's state monopoly on internet gambling.

A party spokesman told the Sverige Radio Ekot news program that it may be better to liberalise the Swedish gambling market, enabling suitable foreign companies to apply for licensing and regulation, thus giving Swedish players wider choice.

But spokesman Andreas Carlsson emphasised that: “The most important thing for the Christian Democrats is the responsibility taken (by betting companies) for the gamblers, that they take some social responsibility. This can be lacking if you let in private operators to a market without control and who take no responsibility for those who bet with them.”

The fact that the European Commission has warned against the monopoly held by Svenska Spel, and the changing regulatory trend in Europe may also have had something to do with the change of heart.

"Another motivating factor would be money," TheLocal notes. "If the monopoly were broken, the companies operating in the Swedish market would be forced to pay part of their income to the government, which would represent a potentially huge cash injection.

"Although there are no official figures, it is thought that some one million Swedes use foreign websites for betting, and spend several billion kronor in the process."

Source: InfoPowa News

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