Betsson still challenging Swedish state monopoly

The feisty move by Swedish online gambling company Betsson to challenge Swedish monopolistic practice by opening a land betting shop in Stockholm (see previous InfoPowa report) continues to generate headlines. This week the company announced that it has decided to appeal against the County Administrative Court's ruling regarding the betting shop to the Administrative Court of Appeal. Betsson has consistently asserted that it believes the shop - opened six months ago - complies with European Union law.

On November 7th 2008 the County Administrative Court of Södermanland rejected both Betsson's appeal against a Lottery Inspection injunction and a request to obtain a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice. This was decided despite the fact that Swedish prosecutors and public courts, including the Supreme Court and Svea High Court, have found the Lottery Act not to be applicable until the Swedish gaming monopoly has been fully considered by the ECJ.

Betsson has therefore decided to take its appeal to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

"We have to appeal given the juridical situation. As the state now risks a claim for damages, the Lottery Inspection and the Country Administrative Court [are gambling] with the taxpayer's money." said Pontus Lindwall, CEO Betsson.

"Since we are pleased with the outcome of the shop we have no intention to shut it down. In addition to placed bets, which continuously have increased during the autumn, the shop gives us a possibility to meet with our customers and give them a unique service. We already have a number of regular customers who appreciate the possibility to place bets with better odds in a physical environment." said Lindwall.

Betsson AB´s core business consists of investing and administer companies within the gaming business. Betsson AB owns Betsson Malta Ltd which operates games for end customers, via the websites, and Betsson Malta Ltd offers Poker, Casino, Betting Exchange, Sports Betting, Lottery, Bingo, Games and Betsson Trader. Betsson AB is listed on the Nordic List in Stockholm, Mid Cap (BETS).

Betsson's legal counsel, Ola Wiklund confirmed that the company would exhaust all possible avenues of appeal on the matter and intended to "take it all the way".

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