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Smoking ban hits Svenska Spel's profits

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17:48 CEST+02:00
Svenska Spel has recorded a post-tax profit of 1.1 billion kronor for the first quarter, a fall of 86 million kronor compared with the same period in 2005.

Net income from gaming fell by 2 percent for Sweden's state-owned gaming company to 2.1 billion kronor.

Svenska Spel said the deterioration was mainly due to the smoking ban introduced in Swedish bars last summer. Gross income for the restaurant gaming business area fell by 11 percent, the company said in a press release.

"Looking ahead over the year, we predict a period with worse results as a consequence of the downturn in restaurant gaming and increased competition from foreign gaming companies," said Jesper Kärrbrink, chief executive of Svenska Spel.

"In the longer term, however, we feel greater confidence," he added pointing to the company's Internet poker, which was launched recently and which appears to be more successful than expected.

Kärrbrink said that sales in stores was stabilizing and that the turnover of the company's casinos was continuing to grow.

"This, together with our planned joint bingo project with Swedish voluntary organizations means that we have good reason to be optimistic," he said in a statement.

TT/The Local

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