The Swedish Lotteries Inspectorate has been engaged in a battle with a handful of local newspaper publishers over their habit of publishing odds offered by foreign gambling groups that offer internet betting in Sweden. Because sports betting in Sweden is the exclusive right of state monopoly Svenska Spel, the Inspectorate felt they had the right to forbid the newspapers from publishing these odds. In fact, the Inspectorate took it upon themselves to impose SEK 150,000 ($21,880) in fines on the publishers.
In what amounts to a small victory for online sportsbooks in Sweden, the Supreme Administrative Court has rules that these newspapers are within their rights to publish odds offered by offshore bookmakers, and that the fines levied by the Swedish Lotteries Inspectorate are invalid.
The ruling concluded that the publish odds, which were found in the sports pages of the newspapers in question, constituted editorial material, and is protected by the Freedom of Press Act. The court did not address the fact that the sportsbooks cater to local players in spite of the rules set forth by Swedish gambling laws.
The newspapers targeted by the fines are the Expressen and the Aftonbaldet. Per-Anders Broberg, deputy chief editor of the Expressen, comments on the court ruling: “The Supreme Administrative Court has concluded the obvious – that a government agency can not prohibit a newspaper from publishing odds from foreign gaming companies.”