Svenska Spel barred from expanding net poker

Sweden's state-owned gambling monopoly, Svenska Spel, has been forbidden from expanding its net-poker services - for the time being at least.

On Thursday, the Swedish government rejected Svenska Spel’s request to expand its existing licence to organize and distribute net-poker services.

Instead, the government asked Svenska Spel to devote more time to an internal, ongoing investigation into the existing licence, which is now due on June 30th 2008. Until the results are in from that investigation, the government will not allow the company to expand its net-poker services.

The government emphasized that Svenska Spel must consider the social effects of gambling, before profits.

Svenska Spel reaped a profit of nearly 1.4 billion kronor ($215 million) in the third quarter, as reported by The Local in October. Svenska Spel controls 35 percent of the Swedish market, as internet gambling including poker is growing rapildy. Overall profits for the first three quarters were more than 4 billion kronor, up 19 percent compared to 2006.

TT/Majsan Boström