Betsson vs. Sweden – Case Lost

Poker Legislation | estimated reading time
2010. September 09.
Although the court agreed on the interpretation of Swedish gambling laws, Betsson has lost a 1997 case against the Swedish government, and will not receive compensation for the damages.
The case dates back to 1997, when Betsson charged the government for violating the European Union law in imposing a ban on almost all land-based casino slot machines, except for those owned by Swedish gambling monopoly Svenska Spel.

Betsson was forced to cease operating its slot machines (counting around 200), and was seeking to receive damages costs of around $14 million.

Swedish Gambling Laws

The Stockholm District Court found the Swedish government guilty of violating the laws of the European Union because of implementing a ban without alerting authorities of the European Commission. The court has also stated that Betsson could not receive compensation because the main causes of the ban were procedural changes in legal issues.

While Betsson is allowed to provide its other services in many markets in Sweden (both regulated and unregulated), they have not been granted permission to operate their online sportsbook because of Svenska Spel’s allowed monopoly.

Pontus Lindwall
Pontus Lindwall

Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall commented the following on the issue:

“A clear case of court decay. Apparently the state can act outside the law while the law applies for everyone else.”

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