Why Svenska Spel head has decided to quit

Why Svenska Spel head has decided to quit

Monday, April 25, 2016 Totally Gaming
Anitra Steen is against Svenska Spel's growth strategy

Anitra Steen, the chair of Svenska Spel, is stepping down from her role, citing concerns about the Swedish gaming monopoly’s social responsibility strategy.

Steen, the wife of former Prime Minister Göran Persson, is believed to have acted in response to the state-owned company’s drive for greater profits, which Svenska Spel itself argues is imperative if it is to stop Swedish gamblers from turning to unlicensed offshore operators. Steen will leave her position at the time of Svenska Spel’s AGM in October.

The Swedish government last year announced an inquiry into the future of gaming after the European Commission began legal action against what it considers a restrictive market that is “inconsistent with European Union law”. The inquiry was welcomed at the time by Svenska Spel chief executive Lennart Kall, who told TotallyGaming.com that Svenska Spel “wants new gaming laws that will create a level playing field for all operators”.

However, Steen, who was appointed to her role in 2011, told the Dagens Industri newspaper that she did not wish to be associated with a gaming company that pursued profits above what she considers to be ethical factors.

"For a social democracy it has always been important to have a clear social responsibility, and Svenska Spel has had an efficient gaming policy which has been of great importance for social causes,” she said. “Now it is on the way out. One should not have private profit interests drive sales in these activities."

Svenska Spel told TotallyGaming.com it had no comment on the matter as the Swedish government selects its chairperson. 

TotallyGaming.com says: “Svenska Spel continues to struggle with its position as the only licensed company in a country in which unlicensed firms are able to operate with little fear of prosecution. The sooner the new regime is introduced the better for Svenska Spel, other gaming operators and those Swedes who wish to gamble.”  

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