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Betsson applies for swedish gaming license

Betsson applies for swedish gaming license

Today Betsson will apply for a Swedish license. We asked Betsson AB CEO Pontus Lindwall some questions ahead of the big day.

In short, what does this mean for the industry?

It means a lot for the industry. We have been waiting for a license regime in Sweden for a long time. Sweden is a very mature market within internet gaming. For the industry it means that yet another market opens up for licensing, which is a positive thing. As I said, we have been waiting for this for many years, and we have been working with preparing for the application for quite some time. A big part of the company has been involved, so tomorrow is a big day for us.

And for Betsson in particular?

Sweden is our home turf. We’re a Swedish top company within the industry, and we’ve been in this market for a very long time. I think it’s great that it opens up for regulation and for license applications.

What would you say will be the biggest change for Betsson in 2019 in regards to the license?

In regards to the license, I actually don’t think it will change that much. We will pay a tax of 18% on GGR, that’s a big change for the P&L, but we’ve been operating on this market for a long time and now we will get better possibilities for marketing, sponsorships, and PR that’s good. But in most of our operations, I think we will be operating as before but under the new regulation.

How long have you been waiting for this?

I’ve been waiting since 1992, more or less, when I started in the gaming industry. It’s been a long time. I’d say it finally happened because the politicians changed their minds and decided to open up for licenses.

Have you applied before?

Yes, we did, in 2006 and it got rejected. We got a lot of explanations which were not very good explanations, but I think the real reason was that there was no political will at that point in time.

Any old stories you would like to share?

Yes, at the time when we send in that application I think it was a big headache for the Ministry of Finance. They understood that they couldgive us a license and they understood that they should give us a license, but they still refused. I think that kind of activity that we did, applying for a license already in 2006, has helped us to get to where we are now: a license regime in Sweden.

Will we expand operations in Sweden?

There is a plan of putting a few more headcounts in Sweden, mainly in Marketing and PR, but apart from that we will operate as before.

What does a Swedish license mean to the Betsson Group office in Malta?

It means that we have yet another regulated market to work with and follow up. It means that we have another local license. But in terms of how we work and operate I don’t think it will change much.

Will some roles shift to Sweden or is it business as usual?

It’s business as usual. As I said there will probably be some more headcount in Marketing and PR moved to Sweden, but that’s maximum a handful of people so there’s not going to be any big changes.

How will the marketing spend strategy change?

This is nothing that we have communicated, but I think everyone can anticipate that when a market opens up like this, and you decide to take a position on the market, then you have to be committed. We have been committed to the Swedish market for a long time and have spent a lot of money on it, and I think that will continue as before more or less.

Any change for the customer?

With a Swedish regulation the customer will have a new contact to turn to, which is the Swedish Gaming authority, instead of the Maltese MGA. That is the biggest change.

In regards to responsible gaming, how does this affect the market and people with gaming problems?

It’s hard to tell if this new regulation will have much effect on responsible gaming. Within Betsson we are trying to do our best in terms of responsible gaming, and we have done that for a very long time. I think we are really well positioned within that area. As the Swedish society is quite interested in that topic, I think we are well suited to have a good position here given our hard and ambitious work within responsible gaming.

What will happen with Svenska Spel in five years?

That’s an interesting question. Svenska Spel still runs a large part of their games under a monopoly, and then they have another part that they will operate in competition with us and the others. The important thing for us and the industry is to make sure that they don’t aid their competitive part of their business with the other part. They have several thousand shops and also gaming machines and casinos. There has to be a distinct line between the different parts of their operations and this is something that we have to watch out for.

Thank you Pontus, and best of luck today!