Swedish gaming monopoly to remain unbroken

According to Swedish economic journal Veckans Affäre, Sweden's finance minister plans to break the election promise made last year to abolish the state gambling monopoly.

The middle- and right-wing political parties last year pledged to break up the monopoly held by Svenska Spel by opening up the online gambling market in the nation.

However, the vast amount of revenue Svenska Spel generates for the country may have been too big a lure to resist. The company recorded a net profit of €157 in the first quarter of 2007.

Originally the plan was to open up the Swedish market to other online gambling companies through a licensing system.

However, the new legislation may also contain conditions for new gambling operator licenses that are so harsh that it's unlikely many new companies will be applying for a license in the country.

The new legislation is also expected to force Svenska Spel to reduce their marketing activities and restrict development of new games in order to comply with the European Commission's opinions on gambling monopolies.

Denmark, Finland and Hungary have already been told by the European Commission to modify their online gambling legislation or face a referral to the European Court of Justice.

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