November 28, 2008

Betsson Says Swedish Authorities Gambling with Taxpayers Money

Betsson has warned Swedish gaming authorities that they risk a claim for damages from the company, after the County Administrative Court of S√∂dermanland rejected Betsson’s appeal of an injunction against its Swedish retail outlet, Shopsson.

The company said that it would appeal against the County Administrative Court’s ruling regarding the betting shop to the Administrative Court of Appeal, as it believes the shop complies with EC-law.

The shop in Stockholm has been in operation for six months and became the subject of enforcement action by the country’s Lottery Inspection for promoting the activities of Betsson.com, an entity classified as an illegal gambling provider under Swedish gaming law.

In July of this year the Lottery Inspection imposed a fine of SEK2.5 million on Shopsson to force it to end its advertising of Betsson.com.

In its ruling of November 7th, the County Administrative Court rejected both Betsson’s appeal of the Lottery Inspection’s injunction and the request to obtain a preliminary ruling from the European Court of Justice. The ruling flies in the face of earlier decisions by Swedish prosecutors and public courts, including the Supreme Court and Svea High Court, which have found that the Lottery Act may be incompatible with European law.

Betsson maintains that the shop is compliant with European law and has therefore decided to appeal the ruling to the Administrative Court of Appeal.

“We have to appeal given the juridical situation,” said Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwall. “As the state now risks a claim for damages, the Lottery Inspection and the County Administrative Court are gambling with taxpayer’s money.

“Since we are pleased with the outcome of the shop we have no intention to shut it down. In addition to placed bets, which have continuously increased during the autumn, the shop gives us a possibility to meet with our customers and give them a unique service. We already have a number of regular customers who appreciate the possibility to place bets with better odds in a physical environment,” added Lindwall.

Shares in Betsson AB (STO:BETS-B) are trading up 1.66% in Stockholm this morning at SEK61.25.

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