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'Group toilet breaks' for Swedish online poker rooms

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17:48 CET+01:00
Sweden's gambling monopoly Svenska Spel claims to take its public responsibility very seriously. So seriously, in fact, that the state organisation has introduced group toilet breaks for its online poker games.

Svenska Spel launched its internet poker offering in March of this year and has quickly established a dominant position in the Swedish online poker market. Over 100,000 players have signed up, giving the company 30 percent market share according to new figures.

With the help of various restrictions, such as maximum stakes and the ability for players to block themselves, the company tries to help players who are susceptible to gambling addiction.

But the battle for players' interest and cash is fierce and the firm sticks firmly to its view that gamblers are safer with Svenska Spel than on other poker sites. So now the online poker rooms will be open 24 hours a day.

"It's especially important that we are now open for gaming round the clock," said Andreas Jansson, spokesman at Svenska Spel.

"Before, many players were going off to other gaming companies' poker sites after we closed."

But all-night poker could lead to increased addiction and seriously strained bladders, so the toilet breaks have been introduced as yet another sign of responsibility.

Cross-legged players are now able to choose a poker table with a five minute break every half hour, while beginners will be invited to play on slower tables.

Apart from being able to take the pressure off their bladders, players will have the opportunity to think about whether they want to continue playing or not, says Svenska Spel.

The Swedish organisation is the first in the world to introduce such a system - and there could be more similar developments in the pipeline.

"Our work with responsible gaming must be a living thing, just like our customers," said Andreas Jansson.

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