Betsson Forced to Close Betting Shop by Court Ruling

23 December 2009

Betsson, after 1.5 years of operation, has been ordered to shut down operations as the result of a ruling by the Swedish Administrative Court of Appeals on December 7th.  Betsson faces fines of €250,000 if the operation is not shut down. As a result, Betsson will close up shop on the 22nd of December at 11:00 AM.

The courts ruling implies that Betsson will be fined whether they appeal or not. The operation of the betting shop violates Swedish Lottery law, according to the Swedish Lottery Inspection.

Betsson argues that the law is illegal because it does not comply with the EC law.

Pontus Lindwall, CEO of Betsson, states: “We are very surprised by the court’s ruling. We believe the state is violating the EC-treaty when shutting out private betting companies from the Swedish market, as they at the same time permits the state owned gambling companies to carry aggressive marketing. We will therefore appeal”.

The EC court has previously ruled that a member state which actively encourages gambling through marketing, cannot exclude private companies from operating in the market.

 In 2009, Betsson, was awarded the EGR award for “Socially Responsible Operator of the Year”. The EGRs are the equivalent of the Oscars for the gaming world.

“Something is horribly wrong when Betsson, recognized as the world’s most socially responsible operator, cannot operate one betting shop, when Svenska Spel unopposed can operate more the 6 600 Jack Vegas gambling terminals, 6 700 outlets and 4 international casinos”, said Lindwall.