Swedish State Gambling Under Fire
August 14, 2008 (InfoPowa News) — The Swedish state gambling monopoly Svenske Spel had difficulty keeping its undertaking to reduce marketing activities in the second quarter, it appears, leading to criticism from political and banking sources.
Marketing spend was up 16 percent over the same period last year, leading to the leader of Sweden's Liberal Party, Johan Pehrson, commenting that the increase would make Sweden's current monopoly arrangements difficult to justify to the European Union. He was also concerned that the company could not call itself the protector of social ideals while actively targeting new customers.
"We have been giving a very clear signal to Svenske Spel to slow down on how much they act aggressively with advertising and marketing," said Pehrson. "Today though you can see with cold figures that they actually have been pushing up the amount of advertising they do. I think it is problematic."
An Evli bank analyst told Swedish media that the negative response to the quarterly marketing statistics did not surprise him, given that the company had said it would focus on public safety, yet had increased marketing spend.
A Svenske Spel spokesman commented rather disingenuously that the increase was small relative to competitors of the monopoly, and that Svenske had not said it would decrease, but rather that it would try to do so.
"If we were to decrease our media spend now, it would mean that we give up market share to the non-regulated companies and we don't want to do that because our responsible gaming programme is a lot better than theirs, if they even have any," he said, claiming that the majority of the additional advertising was focused on responsible gaming.