NordicBet in Hockey Row
September 4, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — Nordicbet.com, an Isle of Man-licensed online gambling firm, has incurred the wrath of the Swedish Ice Hockey Association following an advertising deal it closed with ice hockey club IF Bjorkloven which resulted in advertisements appearing at an ice hockey festival in Umea.
The Association took umbrage because the agreement breached a prior deal that the Association and its member clubs have with state gambling monopoly Svenska Spel that forbids member clubs from promoting competitors to the State-owned operator.
IF Bjorkloven could face a heavy fine as a result of its independent deal.
NordicBet remained unrepentant. "We should have the opportunity to support the general public in Sweden," said Kenneth Engstrom, marketing manager for the company. "These clubs have little money as it is."
The tournament where the offending ads appeared was between three local teams and one from Finland, and did not concern the domestic professional game, Engstrom argued. In addition, he said that individual teams should be allowed to choose their own partners and that NordicBet.com would help with any fines that might be imposed.
Bedros Sakayan, Chief Executive Officer for IF Bjorkloven, stated that he believed that the agreement with Svenska Spel was only applicable during competitive games during the regular season but that the team would take full responsibility for any wrongdoing.
The Association's deal with Svenska Spel comprises a four-year exclusive sponsorship recently negotiated a four-year sponsorship that will see the Association receive $21.47 million, split between member clubs. However, the majority of this sponsorship money is earmarked for teams in the top division, the Swedish Elite League, rather than those in the lower Allsvenskan league where IF Bjorkloven is active.