Svenska Spel Cheating Scandal Could End Sports Betting Monopoly

Posted By: Date: 10/13/2010 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Swedish online sports betting operator Svenska Spel has held an aging monopoly in the region for many years now. With no competition to speak of, the company has grown exponentially as time wears on. But a recent accusation of cheating on the sports betting site’s part may soon change all of that.

Svenska Spel was accused of presenting different odds to players with variable bankroll sizes. Essentially, punters with a professional betting status, high rollers, are forced to place wagers on worse odds than casual bettors. Offering two different sets of odds on the same bet is certainly not something an online sports bettor would expect to encounter from any legal standpoint.

According to accusers, Svenska Spel is using a player tracking system in an effort to flag professional bettors who log in to the online sports betting service. When one logs in, Svenska Spel allegedly changes its odds to prevent high rollers from making a hefty profit, thereby cutting the sportsbook’s own losses on well placed wagers.

Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet revealed the story, providing proof of its accusations by illustrating two different sets of odds displayed to two different betting accounts. One account belonged to a ‘casual bettor’, while the other belonged to a ‘professional bettor’.

Staffan Rehnstrom, sports betting manager for Svenska Spel, skirted the issue when asked to comment on the claims, stating, “We can see all the betting on our website, and that is one of the parts of our risk management.”

To many, this sounds like an admission of guilt, but Rehnstrom further explained that Svenska Spel restricts sports betting wagers to a limit of 1,000 Swedish Kronor per bet. He claims that this is a clear sign that the online sportsbook does not discriminate between its members, both casual and professional.

The position of Svenska Spel and its monopoly was already tentative at best, and a lot of commentators are eluding that this latest finding may be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, along with its monopolized hold in the region. Industry experts, however, have stated that the lax regulations currently imposed on the sports betting company are mercifully lenient, and this latest development won’t likely even be investigated.

What this means for the online sports betting industry in Sweden is very murky at this time. Should the government explore the situation and make the decision to reverse its legislation that allows for the monopoly on the market, it could result in major changes for the way locals place their sporting bets over the internet.

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