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Government to ban aggressive gambling ads

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10:10 CEST+02:00
The Swedish government is to commission a new report regarding the rules that govern the Swedish betting market. But state-owned Svenska Spel is to retain the sole right to organize gambling activities regarded as particularly problematic from a social perspective.

Writing in Svenska Dagbladet, Finance Minister Anders Borg and Public Health Minister Maria Larsson explain that the government's main priority is to institute a ban on aggressive marketing in the gaming industry.

"Gambling addiction is on a par with alcoholism: an addictive behaviour that is very difficult to break," the ministers write.

Jan Nyrén from the Swedish Police Service has been charged with presenting a set of proposals to the government by the end of next year.

Moderate Party member of parliament Tomas Tobé, who favours deregulation of the gaming market, has vowed to continue pushing for a parliamentary majority to remove the state monopoly.

"This proposal will do very little to appease the EU Commission and Sweden can expect a summons to the European Court of Justice and a subsequent conviction," he said.

The EU Commission has threatened to take Sweden to court for a failure to respect the freedom of establishment. Sweden's argument that the monopoly is necessary from a public health standpoint has not been accepted by the Commission.

Despite his misgivings, Tomas Tobé viewed Wednesday's announcement as a step in the right direction.

"It at least paves the way for responsible companies other than Svenska Spel to legally establish themselves in Sweden in the future," he said.

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