Eye on Europe - Sept. 22, 2006

22 September 2006

Swedish Privatization Time -- The Swedish right-wing Alliance, headed by Moderate party leader Fredrik Reinfeldt, on Monday won the Swedish elections, kicking out, after a reign of 12 year, the Social Democrats. The new government will be formed by October 5. Under Reinfeldt, the Moderates have already made agreements with other center and right formations, and the new government will break up the state-owned alcohol, pharmacy and gambling monopolies as soon as possible. Sweden's largest gaming company, by the way, is Svenska Spel, with a market share of 55 percent and an annual turnover in 2005 of 2.2 billion euros.

Testing in the Netherlands -- In the aftermath of the Dutch State Opening of Parliament, Justice Minister Piet-Hein Donner reconfirmed that state-owned Holland Casino will receive a two-year license to test games of chance via the Internet. Preparations got underway in June 2005. Under strict control, the government wants to gather expertise on the effects of Internet gambling. There will be a strict policy for the prevention of compulsive gambling via the Internet. All players will be registered, and there will be digital monitoring of their behavior. There will also be time limits and table limits. Holland Casino spokesman Laurens P. Woldberg expects more concrete information to be available by spring 2007.

Interested Companies -- Affiniti, Cable and Wireless, CSC Computer Sciences Limited, eLottery Inc., GI Terminal Tech India Private Limited, Logica CMG Limited, M/s Sugal & Damani Lottery Agency (P) Ltd, Oberthur Gaming Technologies, Oracle Corporation UK Limied, Pan India Network Infravest Private Limited (PLAYWIN), RHL, Scientific Games Corporation, Strategic Proposals Limited, THUS plc and Wincor Nixdorf are all interested in obtaining the exclusive rights to operate the U.K. National Lottery. Many of these groups have expressed the desire to discuss the opportunity with other interested parties. Through its lead advisers, Rothschild, the National Lottery Commission has asked such parties whether they would make their details available on the commission's Web site so they can get in touch with each other. Many wish to remain confidential at this stage, whereas some have expressed a desire to provide their names at a later date. The license will go into effect Feb. 1, 2009. It will be the third term of licensure for the National Lottery.

Rob van der Gaast has a background in sports journalism. He worked for over seven years as the head of sports for Dutch National Radio and has developed new concepts for the TV and the gambling industry. Now he operates from Istanbul as an independent gambling research analyst. He specializes in European gambling matters and in privatizations of gambling operators. Rob has contributed to IGN since Jul 09, 2001.