Swedish operators Betsson have more than that Danish ‘black period’ to feel blue over. They’re also mourning the demise of their cherished ‘Bettson Shop’ in Stockholm. Opened in 2008, the internet café allowed visitors to place bets at computer terminals connected to the company’s operation in Malta. The shop was a bit of a novelty, being as it was the lone alternative to the government monopoly’s 6,700 gaming agents, and thus it became quite popular.
But in gaining the approval of customers, the shop earned the enmity of the state, who mustered their forces and set out to crush this independent minded outfit. Sure enough, the Administrative Court of Appeal ordered it shut last December, and last week, the Supreme Administrative Court rejected Betsson’s right to appeal the ruling, and the lights went out forever on the little betting shop that could.
We here at CalvinAyre.com fancy ourselves as romantics, so we like to imagine Betsson’s shop as a beleagured little Swedish Alamo, surrounded on all sides by enemy forces staunchly opposed to these stubborn rebels. (Come to think of it, Alamo even sounds a bit Swedish — like Malmo.) In this scenario, Santa Anna and the Mexican army would be played by the Swedish government, and Betsson would be Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis all rolled into one.
Betsson’s CEO Pontus Lindwall could have been talking like a Texan in his postmortem on the battle. “We struggle to be able to offer consumers freedom… but it’s a very tough battle when you fight against state-owned gaming companies and a state gaming authority. They act together with a united front while the expected independence and autonomy appears to be completely absent.” Glory, glory, hallelujah, his truth is marching on…