Sweden Vs Unibet
March 9, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – European online gaming company (and CAP Listed Program) Unibet is fighting to retain its right to advertise its online gaming services in the larger EU community.
Last week, Unibet lost a case in the district court in Eskilstuna, in Eastern Sweden, concerning its act of advertising in Sweden, where outside online gambling operators are banned. The Swedish state, which runs Svenska Spel, the state-run Internet gambling company that has total control of the market, ruled against Unibet for advertising to Swedish gamblers.
The Swedish government has long claimed that it intends to eradicate advertising from online gambling operators outside of Sweden, which is apparently commonplace in the country despite the nation’s laws that restrict foreign operators.
For its part, Unibet, frequent winner of eGaming Review’s European sportsbetting operator of the Year award, has argued that the state is trying to hoard all online gaming revenue and unfairly ban private operators, as is happening elsewhere in Europe (particularly in another of Unibet’s main markets, France).
“The crucial question in the case … is whether the promotion ban is proportionate to the purpose of the law,” writes blogger Johan Levin at Swedish news site nt.se. “A bit surprising considering Swedish Spel’s advertising, whose main purpose … is to attract customers to the games offered on the website.” In essence, the working of the ruling contradicts the fact that Svenska Spel is allowed to advertise.
Will this affect Unibet’s ability to operate in the northern European market? Will it push out online gambling advertising in Sweden altogether? At this point, the ruling looks like an ominous development in the new trend of European countries banning foreign operators.