Svenska Spel barred from expanding online poker

Sweden

Svenska Spel may have a monopoly on online poker and gambling in Sweden, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have limits as well.

According to The Local, Sweden's news in English, the Swedish government denied the online gaming company's request to expand its Internet poker service.

Instead the government is asking Svenska Spel to spend more time on an internal, ongoing investigation into the existing license, which is due June 30, 2008. Until that investigation is complete, the government has decided not to allow the expansion of Svenska Spel's online poker services.

Svenska Spel reported a nearly 1.4 billion Swedish kronor ($215 million) profit for the third quarter of 2007. Overall profits for the first three quarters were more than 4 billion SEK. That's up 19% compared to 2006.

In denying the proposed expansion of Internet poker, the Swedish government emphasized that Svenska Spel must consider the social effects of gambling before profits.

The online gambling market, including Internet poker, is growing rapidly in Sweden. Currently Svenska Spel controls about 35% of that market.

The online gambling company may be in danger of losing its monopoly status. Sweden is one of the countries being targeted by the European Union because of its unfair online gambling monopoly practices that hobble open competition from companies outside its borders.

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