State makes 1.4 billion from gambling

Sweden's state-owned gambling monopoly, Svenska Spel, made profits of nearly 1.4 billion kronor ($215 million) in the third quarter, the company announced on Tuesday.

Internet gambling, including online poker, grew rapidly during the period and Svenska Spel controls 35 percent of the Swedish market.

“Gamers choose our secure poker platform over others, which is pleasing,” said CEO Jesper Kärrbrink in a statement.

The company’s profits rose by 92 million kronor compared to the same period last year. Around one third of the increase, 35 million kronor, came from Svenska Spel’s internet and telephone operations.

Overall profits for the first three quarters were over 4 billion kronor, up 19 percent on 2006.

“The positive pattern is continuing and we expect a record dividend for sports this year,” said Kärrbrink.

All business areas had developed well, the company said. Internet bingo was 32 percent up during the first nine months. The company’s casino operations saw results up 15 percent. In the third quarter casino takings rose by 44 million kronor.


Gambling addicts ‘not getting enough help’

Swedish health authorities have criticised the lack of help available in Sweden for gambling addiction, with many municipalities providing no resources at all to deal with the problem.

Despite recent figures suggesting that nearly 200,000 people in Sweden have some kind of gambling problem the institute has slammed local authorities for not spending enough money dealing with the problem.

At least 50 municipalities provide no treatment at all for compulsive gamblers according to Sweden’s National Institute for Public Health (Folkhälsoinstitutet).

“It is very serious for those who are addicted to gambling and for those who live with problem gamblers, Marie Risbäck, coordinator of problem gambling issues at the Institute, told Sveriges Radio (SR).

Gambling problems are especially prevalent among young men, where it is estimated that one in ten between the ages of 18-24 have issues to some degree with over 17 billion kronor ($2.5 billion) wasted just on Svenska Spel, ATG and other ostensibly Swedish betting operations.

Three years ago a survey showed that some 40 municipalities provided no help to those with gambling problems, and the situation has just got worse since, with even fewer resources being made available.

The Public Health Institute believes that the government on a national and local level is not taking responsibility for doing anything about it.

It has therefore called for a state run action plan for the prevention of problem gambling, clearer rules on betting advertising, and an increase in care and treatment to all those in need.