Sweden: ATG, the governmentally owned Swedish Horse Racing company, wants to abolish the Swedish gambling monopoly

By Björn Collste and Christopher Büller

The Swedish Horse Racing Totalisator Board, ATG, was established by the Swedish government in 1974 and currently has monopoly on horse betting in Sweden.

For a period of time, gambling operators based abroad have actively been marketing their online gambling sites towards the Swedish market and successfully taken chunks of ATG’s turnover. Not surprisingly, ATG has actively attempted to fight against this development. However, since the competing gambling operators are not restricted by the same regulations or subject to the same tax rates as ATG, the struggle has not yet been very successful.

As part of its struggle against these gambling operators, ATG has actively been voicing its dissatisfaction with the current gambling regime and requested it to be amended. However, considering ATG’s and its representatives’ latest statements, it seems as if ATG has not been getting the desired response and has decided to release a new wave of criticism. First, one representative of ATG’s owners stated that ATG would have saved approximately 1,3 billion SEK if the company had been registered in Malta and that he did not rule out that ATG would create a Maltese subsidiary to achieve these lower tax rates in the future. Thereafter, ATG’s CEO, Hasse Skarplöth, publicly stated that he would prefer if the gambling monopoly would be abolished and replaced with a regulated market where all operators compete on the same terms.

To what extent this new wave of criticism will affect the on-going review of the Swedish gambling legislation remains to be seen. However, the statements clearly show the frustration over the slow paced process of reviewing the Swedish gambling legislation.