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Svenska Spel loses appeal against ATG over naming rights

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Svenska Spel lost an appeal to Aktiebolaget Trav och Galopp over the use “Trav och Galopp”, in a racing product.

The Patent and Market Court of Appeal ruled that Svenska Spel had infringed on ATG’s trademark by using the phrase “trot and gallop” which is translated to English as “trot and gallop”.

ATG filed the first trademark suit in December 2020. The trademark lawsuit was launched after a verbal war between Hasse Skarploth, ATG’s chief executive and his Svenska Spel equivalent Patrik Hobauer.

Skarploth stated in a press release announcing ATG’s victory: “That the Supreme Court also followed our position was expected. Skarploth said in a statement announcing ATG’s court victory: “That the supreme court also followed our line was expected.

It was crucial to prove that competitors do not have a right to exploit our good name or use it as a brand.

Another blow for Svenska Spel

Svenska Spel announced its intent to close Casino Cosmopol in Gothenburg, Malmo and other locations in an effort to “limit loss”.

In recent years the online casino industry has had a significant impact on Casino Cosmopol. The closures could affect around 200 jobs. Casino Cosmopol is the last land-based gambling establishment in Sweden.

Casino Cosmopol had already been fined in December, receiving a SEK2m (PS154,000/EUR180,000/$200,000) penalty for anti-money laundering failings. Svenska Spel received a warning as well.

Casino Cosmopol was in a bind by October. Svenska Spel’s Q3 report showed a stagnation in retail revenue and earnings due to pressures from the market.

Svenska Spel responded by adapting business practices in Casino Cosmopol. However, it ultimately was not able to stop the closures.

The ATG shines in Sweden

ATG is thriving on the Swedish market while Svenska Spel seems to be in decline. ATG recorded a two-digit increase in its operating profit during a very successful period of three months up until 30 September 2023.

The net gaming revenue increased by 4.5%, to SEK1.35bn from SEK1.29bn in the previous year. This was ATG’s second-highest third quarter ever, despite the Swedish market stagnating in H1.

ATG reported a total of SEK1.53bn in revenue, an increase of 3.0% on the previous year. Operating profit for the group was SEK497m. This is up 13.7% on an annual basis.

A potential tax problem on the Horizon

The Swedish government announced in September that it would be increasing the tax on gambling from 18% of gross gaming revenues (GGR) to 22 %. The tax increase will be implemented in Sweden on 1 July 2024 if the proposal is approved.

Regeringen said the additional SEK540m tax revenue could be collected annually. The proposals were met by fierce opposition from the industry.

ATG, in fact, is the leader of this opposition. Skarploth urged the government earlier in this week to reconsider its plans.

Skarploth is calling for a tax that differentiates between the different gambling industries. Sports betting will remain at 18% while tax rates on igaming are increased.

Skarploth stated that the idea of a tax increase on gambling firms was a surprise. The will to fight was reawakened shortly after.

We have put a great deal of effort into showing the benefits of a differentiating gaming tax not only in Sweden, but also throughout Europe. Our analysis is hoped to move lawmakers from awareness to action.

It is an excellent starting point to our proposal. Keep the tax on sports and horse racing, but increase it for online casinos.

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