Stockholm sees Betsson close betting shop

18 month confrontation with Lotteriinspektionen ends in defeat

The spunky defiance of Swedish online gambling group Betsson in opening a land betting shop in Stockholm in the face of gaming authority threats has ended, eighteen months after it began.

This week the group closed its betting shop in Stockholm following an adverse decision by the Swedish Administrative Court of Appeal (Kammarrätten) and the threat of 2.5 million kronor ($343 000) in fines.

The company's management said they were left little alternative but to close after the court ruled that the fine would stand even if the company appeals the judgement to the Supreme Administrative Court (Regeringsrätten).

For the Swedish Gaming Board (Lotteriinspektionen) it is a victory and a vindication of its claims that the Betsson office has been in violation of Swedish gaming law all along .

Betsson management, which has consistently claimed that its betting shop presence was legal in European law, superceding Swedish law, was clearly disappointed in the ruling.

"We are extremely surprised by the Administrative Court of Appeal's ruling," md Pontus Lingwall told the Swedish newspaper The Local.

"We believe that the Swedish state is in violation of EC legislation when it prevents a private gaming company from operating in Sweden at the same time that the State's gaming enterprise aggressively markets its activities. We will therefore appeal the decision."

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