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Monopoly

Risky gamble with government funds

Published tisdag 12 oktober 2010 kl 10.18
Government owned Svenska Spel is the only gambling company allowed to operate on the Swedish market but online gambling companies bypass Swedish law by operating from abroad.

The government is quick to criticise online gambling companies such as Unibet, Betsson and Ladbrokes, which operate illegally on the Swedish market. But according to an investigation by newspaper Svenska Dagbladet the government is also a shareholder in many of these companies through the public pensions system, AP-fonderna.

Finance Minister Anders Brog says that it is troubling that Sweden has limited legal resources to stop these companies from operating on the Swedish market. But Borg seems to be unaware that the government owns shares in these companies through the public pensions system.

Betsson, Unibet and Bet24 all have their offices on Malta while Ladbrokes is registered in the UK. The biggest owner of shares in these companies is the Second AP Fund which owns about 1.7 million dollars worth of shares in Ladbrokes and 11 million in Unibet. The Third AP Fund owns about 5 million dollars worth of shares in Unibet.

Sweden has maintained its gambling monopoly despite pressure from the European Union to allow other companies to operate on the market. Online gambling companies have so far been able to bypass the monopoly by operating from abroad which has angered the government.

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