Internet sports betting company Betsson runs a special internet café in Stockholm. It allows customers to bet on sports in Sweden by routing them to the Betsson online sportsbook, which is hosted and operated out of Malta. In 2008, the Swedish Gaming Board took Betsson to court in an attempt to have the betting center closed down. Now, it looks like they finally got what they were after.
The two-year legal battle against Betsson has come to a close with Sweden’s highest administrative court denying refusing to hear Betsson’s appeal against last month’s court case. The betting shop has been found to be in violation of Swedish gambling laws, and Betsson intends to close it down within a week to avoid paying heavy fines.
The problem lies with Sweden’s Lotteries Act and its ban on promoting games of chance that take place outside of Sweden. The country’s ban on gambling adverts is part of an attempt to uphold the local gambling monopoly held by Swedish group Svenska Spel. In July, the European Court of Justice upheld Sweden’s restrictive law on internet gambling advertising, saying the country has the right to protect its gambling monopoly.
While Betsson continually argued that a ban on advertising does not deny them the right to offer internet betting in Sweden, their arguments are now moot and the case is closed.
Betsson president and chief executive Pontus Lindwall remains determined. “Betsson will continue fighting for the Swedish consumer’s right to a free choice of games. I’m sure we will look back on this time as a surrealistic period when the Swedish consumers’ were withheld from information about a truly free and competitive market,” he explained.