Betsson takes stake in struggling Swedish rival Global Gaming


betsson-global-gaming-stake-sweden-online-gamblingNordic online gambling operator Betsson AB has quietly acquired a small stake in fellow Swedish firm Global Gaming.

On Tuesday, Swedish media reported that Betsson had acquired 726k shares in Global Gaming, equal to 1.8% of the latter company’s issued share capital. Betsson previously held no shares in its Swedish rival but now stands as Global Gaming’s ninth largest shareholder.

Betsson’s CEO Pontus Lindwall reportedly declined comment when asked about his company’s sudden interest in Global Gaming. Global Gaming’s share price closed Tuesday’s trading up nearly 56% after rising as high as 64% earlier in the day.

Despite the surge, Global Gaming’s shares have yet to regain the price they enjoyed prior to mid-June, when Sweden’s Spelinspektionen gambling regulatory body revoked the company’s local license after identifying “serious deficiencies” in anti-money laundering and social responsibility obligations at its Ninja Casino brand. Global Gaming has since lost legal bids to continue operating in Sweden while it appeals the revocation.

In other Betsson news, the company’s bid to force its way into the horse racing pools controlled by Swedish state-run operator AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) has been dismissed by the Konkurrensverket competition authority. Betsson had teamed with the Kindred Group and the Branschföreningen för onlinespel (BOS) online gambling industry association on a legal challenge of ATG’s ongoing bogarting of the domestic pool betting business.

The companies had argued that since ATG, which held a monopoly on pool betting until January 1, was allowing state-run gaming firms in Denmark, Finland and France to access its pools, the same access should be granted to independent Swedish gaming licensees.

In issuing its ruling, Konkurrensverket claimed that ATG had the right to pick its partners and that allowing the indie operators into ATG’s pools would reduce market competition. The Konkurrensverket’s theory is that refusing access to ATG’s pools will compel the indies to launch their own racing pool product, which will expand consumer choice. Konkurrensverket left the companies with no avenue to appeal its ruling.