Svenska Spel CEO Criticizes Sweden’s Restaurant Casino Industry

Svenska Spel CEO and president Patrik Hofbauer has harshly criticized the lack of control and rules in the Swedish restaurant casino sector in a publication in Svenska Spel’s corporate blog. Hofbauer has called for a change in regulations and points out as one of his main concerns that a person with gambling issues can easily play in a restaurant environment in Sweden without any restrictions.

Losing SEK 1000 ($100) Per Minute

There are 375 licensed restaurant casinos in Sweden which together with gambling operators offer Black Jack tables and roulette games as an attractive alternative to the usual diner.  However, the main issue is not the concept but the fact that these venues are exempt from the regulations that all other gaming activities must follow. Consequently, these operations function outside the normal control mechanisms such as the Gambling Suspension Register and the law that monitors that there is no money laundering.

Hofbauer points out that as per the last amendment of legal regulations the wagering limit on Black Jack was increased from SEK 75 ($7) to SEK 236 ($23) per hand, which makes it possible, especially for bigger players, to lose SEK 1000 ($100) per minute. Spelfriheten, an organization that helps people with gambling problems, has reported that players often say that with the help of alcohol, it is not difficult to spend more time at the Black Jack table than it is reasonable.

Hofbauer: Remove the Exemption for Restaurant Casinos

Hofbauer has been calling for changes for the past couple of years, describing the restaurant casino industry as a black hole. The lack of control mechanisms over this extensive business means that it is not known who is playing and for what money. Therefore, Hofbauer demands a change in the regulations:

We have one requirement and wish – do away with the exemption. Honest business can withstand scrutiny and equal rules of the game. Remove the exemptions for complying with the law on care for gamblers and money laundering.

Svenska Spel CEO and president Patrik Hofbauer

Consequently, it offers an opportunity to those who have closed themselves off from gambling or have a gambling addiction to indulge in such activities unregistered.

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