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Svenska Spel drops expansion plans
Despite Sweden's stubborn refusal to open up its online gambling market and do away with the monopoly it has created, its main online gambling company, Svenska Spel, has opted to drop plans for expansion for now.
According to the Gaming Intelligence Group, the company has withdrawn its license application for an online casino and stopped development of all new gambling products.
"We do not think it is realistic to get an approval from the government at this time, and hence we have withdrawn this application," said Jesper Karrbrink, Svenska Spel CEO, in a Gaming Intelligence Group article.
"What we can do is to continue developing the games we have, but any new developments will not take place. We will also not launch any new games which risk increasing the number of gambling addicts."
Last week the Swedish government once again stubbornly refused to comply with the European Commission's request for the country to open its gambling market to competition from other European operators.
The country's argument is that by having just the one gambling operator, they are better able to limit the potential for problem gambling.
Svenska Spel dropping its expansion plans is one way to continue to prove the government's intention is to curb gambling addiction problems.
The problem is that Svenska Spel is now caught in a position where it can't fully capitalize on its monopoly status, and it can't compete fairly with other European operators.
"It is obvious that we risk ending up in a vacuum over the next couple years," Karrbrink said, "and it is clear that we will slip behind in international gambling developments."
If the European Commission decides to take Sweden to court over the issue, it could still be years before the matter is settled. In the meantime, Svenska Spel would continue as the major online gambling operator in the nation.
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