• Sweden edition
 

Christian Democrats mull betting u-turn

Published: 25 Apr 2011 08:35 GMT+02:00
Updated: 25 Apr 2011 08:35 GMT+02:00

Sweden’s betting laws could be set to change if the Christian Democrats have their way.

In a clear change in policy direction, the party has decided it would consider bringing an end to the longstanding Swedish betting monopoly, according to the Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme.

Foreign betting organisations like Ladbrokes, Unibet and others have fought for many years for the right to legally enter the Swedish market where Svenska Spel still enjoys a monopoly.

Until recently the official Christian Democrats have been staunch defenders of the tradition, arguing that it protects the individual from possible addiction. However they are now prepared to discuss changing the law, given that online gambling is now so easy and widespread.

“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,” said cultural policy spokesman Andreas Carlsson.

Another motivating factor would be money. 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 some one million Swedes use foreign websites for betting, and spend several billion kronor in the process.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:07 April 25, 2011 by HYBRED
Svenska Spel helps protect from possible addiction?? Yeah right. Their goal is to suck every kronor they can out of anyone they can.
09:19 April 25, 2011 by Deusultima
@HYBRED:

By taxing and keeping high prices- why yes, it would make people play less, which would be their ultimate goal in the end :)

Much like Systembolaget is there to make sure people drink less and make it harder for alcoholics to get what they want. Some may say it invades on peoples' freedoms, but we live in a society where social responsibility is a necessity, and if a lot of people can't uphold the standards such institutions are in my opinion necessary.
09:41 April 25, 2011 by bocale1
@Deusultima, "Systembolaget is there to make sure people drink less"????

where did you live? on another planet?

I have never seen so many drunk people like in Sweden.

Go to any other country where you can buy alcohol anywhere, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Benelux, everywhere, and you will not see the city center invaded by hordes of drunk guys and girls every single weekend as you can see here
09:44 April 25, 2011 by HYBRED
@Deusultima

Based upon the facts in the story above, the CD's goal is to open gambling to outside business. Their only worry is "social responsibility".

Slice it anyway you want, but the CD's are promoting and condoning gambling, how Christian is that?
09:45 April 25, 2011 by Deusultima
@bocale1:

Be that as it may, Sweden is actually not very high up on the statistics regarding alcohol consumption per person and year. What happens in the Stockholm area every weekend I'm blissfully unaware of.
09:58 April 25, 2011 by HYBRED
@Deusultima

Your joking, right?
10:03 April 25, 2011 by Deusultima
@HYBRED

I am not joking. Take a look at this map brought to us by wikipedia, would you kindly?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Alcohol_consumption_per_capita_world_map.PNG
10:10 April 25, 2011 by HYBRED
@Deusultima

I am aware of some statistics that came out recently about the low Swedish consumption. The numbers were based upon sales from Systembolaget. But those numbers didn't take in account what comes into the country from the cruise ships and by car.
10:17 April 25, 2011 by Deusultima
Oh? But it outspokenly measures "Unrecorded consumption". This would have to be an estimate, but Sweden does indeed have a long statistical tradition, so I'd bet it's pretty close.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption

Even with the "black market" counted in our total ends up below most continental European countries.
10:57 April 25, 2011 by technoviking
Now here's a right wing party we ALL can hate...
11:31 April 25, 2011 by HYBRED
@Deusultima

I am not referring to the black market. Anyone can legally bring back booze from another EU country for their own use.

As it makes the Swedish stats suspect, it does the same to the other countries by inflating their stats, making them look like they are drinking more than they really are.
18:17 April 25, 2011 by LeoKinmann
Deusultima,

You can make statistics say anything you like. It's how you interpret that matters.

It's true that the French notably drink more than Swedes. The French drink wine to every meal, 7 days a week. However, since they can gain alcohol easily from a local store (instead of driving 30 min to get from the shop with short opening hours), they also tend to drink more often, but in smaller amounts. If you go buy 5 bottles of wine on a Friday and plan to drink them over the next week, most of the times those bottles never survive the weekend. And yes, drinking 7 glasses of wine over 7 days is way healthier than drinking 7 glasses at once. It's the latter that gives Sweden most problems. Clearly your statistics don't show how the alcohols are consumed.
20:36 April 25, 2011 by iammucow
I think you are all missing point by getting into these statistics. Deusultima is right, one of the purposes of Systembolaget was to reduce alcohol consumption. That doesn't mean it works.
22:19 April 25, 2011 by fikatid
I agree with Deusultima. I've never seen that many drunken people on a weekend in any city that I've been to. I was in Newark waiting for my flight to Stockhom. Our gate was the only gate with several trollies full of bottles of booze purchased at the duty free by the Swedes. Systembolaget needs a big slap on their face to be waken up. They are so out of touch with reality.
21:21 April 26, 2011 by philemon
The simple fact is that the opening of European betting markets has simply served to entrench the position of the monopoly providers. This has been achieved through the introduction of tough regulatory regimes that ensure that new entrants are not actually able to make any money; re: France and Germany. Svenska Spel knows that through the opening of the Swedish market, it will actually consolidate its leadership role, whilst ensuring that the likes of Ladbrokes, Betsson et al, simply cut each others throats, whilst fighting for the crumbs from its table!
11:24 April 27, 2011 by Raiha
@Desultima,

I checked the Wikipedia list and the first thing that stood out to me is that if Sweden has a higher alcohol consumption than Australia and NZ, then you have a MASSIVE drinking problem in your society. We acknowledge it. You should too.

I would hate to see you dealing with similiar gambling problems.
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