Support gathers for ending Swedish gambling monopoly

The Christian Democrats, the smallest of the four Alliance parties, now says it is open to the idea of allowing foreign competition into the current gaming monopoly in Sweden.

The move is a u-turn on the party’s pre-election policy, but Mats Odell, the Party’s economic spokesman, said the disagreement between the Alliance parties regarding the gaming monopoly could be worked out if a deregulation would hold the market under control.

“The most important thing is that there is protection for those who end up addicted to gaming,” he told Dagens Nyheter on Wednesday.

“If resources can be committed to rehabilitation and giving a helping hand to those who ruined themselves and their families and if we hold this under control so that the damages are minimized.”

Both the Moderates and the Liberal Party are in favour of doing away with the monopoly, while the Centre Party has been opposed to it in the past.

Unibet, one of the largest private gambling operators in Europe, is optimistic about a change in Swedish policy.

Petter Nylander, Unibet’s CEO, said the Alliance, and in particular Moderate Party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt, has created a “climate change from confrontation to dialogue”.

“Sticking your head in the sand isn’t reasonable,” he said.

“I welcome a dialogue about how this can work in a modern way.”

Even Svenska Spel is positive to the license system that the Moderates have proposed.

“It would be a good way to do away with a portion of those companies that are not serious,” said Andreas Jansson, Svenska Spel spokesman.

“If you were to get a gaming company to pay for a license, you should at the same time move against those who are working without a license.”