Svenska Spel pushes east

Svenska Spel, the Swedish gambling monopoly, is looking east, while the government is being criticized for protecting the nation’s gaming industry.

According to Svenska Spel, the push into the Baltic region is to “export knowledge, games and gaming responsibility to other countries.”

“The Baltic has an undeveloped lottery market and they have difficulty defending themselves against foreign Internet operators, that’s where we can help,” said Jesper Kärrbrink, head of Svenska Spel, to

The EU isn’t too happy about Sweden’s push into the Baltic.

“You can question whether Nordic monopolies should go into markets in the east while trying to protect their own markets,” said Oliver Drewes, spokesman for the European Commission.

The Commission began in April an investigation regarding whether Sweden’s government discriminated against private gaming companies and foreign players on the Swedish market.

If the commission doesn’t get an acceptable response from Sweden’s government, legal proceedings could begin as early as this fall.

It isn’t just Svenska Spel which has begun to look at the eastern markets. Betsson said in March that it was considering entering the market in Poland.

Kärrbrink said cooperation with Baltic countries could be anything from selling lottery machines for which Svenska Spel no longer has use, to selling a system for scratch tickets.