The debate about Sweden's restrictive online gambling legislation is heating up, as Gustaf Hoffstedt, from the country’s Moderate Party, proposed a motion to the Swedish Parliament to modify the current law in favor of an open and regulated market.
After the European Commission (EC) decided to refer the country to the European Court of Justice to finally define whether Sweden’s monopoly on gambling is in conflict with EU laws or not, the pressure for a legislative change now comes from inside the country.
"Sweden's monopoly only exists on paper, therefore it is natural to change this to a licensing system where more operators can apply for a license in Sweden," Hoffstedt said. "The companies that meet the highest standards should, on application, be given a license to operate in Sweden."
Hoffstedt believes that a change in the legislation is needed since it's time for Sweden's authorities to face the fact that the gambling monopoly in the hands of the State-controlled Svenska Spel did not work as initially expected. Especially as a large number of Swedish citizens regularly play on rooms that should not be reached from within the country.
"When we talk about foreign gaming companies, these are in fact, in many cases, Swedish companies, since Sweden is one of the leading export nations in the gaming industry with companies like Unibet and Betsson," Hoffstedt explained to GamingIntelligence. "The current gaming law forces these companies to operate abroad. It is easy to see that a business policy that forces world-leading Swedish companies to leave the country can hardly be regarded as successful."
Similarly to the EC, the member of Sweden's Moderate party believes that the country's gambling monopoly did not succeed also in protecting players from the perils of compulsive gambling.
"Compulsive gambling is a medical diagnosis, but today only 30 of the 290 municipalities provide specialised gambling treatment," he stated.
Hoffstedt parliamentary motion is only the last chapter of a long debate that many believe will soon result in the opening of Sweden's gambling market.
Also Sweden's Minister of public administration Ardalan Shekarabi agrees with Hoffstedt on the fact that the country should rethink its approach to gambling and allow more companies to join an open, yet regulated, market.
In a comment reported by PokerNews in October, Shekarabi explained how he believes it will be the government's intention to "accelerate the work that is currently taking place to find a licensing system which can be implemented in Sweden."
Right when the Parliament was busy discussing the possibility to end the state-controlled gambling monopoly, things did not go too well for the country’s monopolistic company Svenska Spel.
With a note published on the company's website on Nov. 13, Svenska Spel's press officer Johan Söderkvist announced that "the poker room had to temporarily shut down because of DDoS attacks."
"Svenska Spel has undergone several targeted denial of service attacks, known as DDoS attacks," the note explains. "Given the major disruptions caused by the attacks, it has been decided to temporarily shut down the poker room. Cancelled games will be refunded according to Svenska Spel's terms and conditions," the note continued. "Svenska Spel has filed a police report the incident."
Heavy DDoS attack against Svenska Spel were also reported on Nov. 2, when the poker room was forced to cancel the inaugural event of its 2014 Swedish Masters.
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