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ATG: Progress made on Swedish tax proposals rethink

The CEO of Swedish gambling operator ATG says progress has been made on the company’s efforts to force the government into a rethink of current tax hike proposals.

Hans Lord Skarplöth and his company are seeking a standalone tax hike for commercial online gambling to 26 per cent from 18 per cent, as opposed to current plans to raise all taxes, including on the sports betting industry, to 22 per cent.

Skarplöth, whose company’s operations chiefly concern the sports betting industry, has previously said ATG is “convinced” that the government’s original plan “will have significantly negative consequences for the horseracing industry,” noting that the online casino market is “considerably larger” and is the “fastest-growing” area of the Swedish industry.

On Wednesday, ATG attended a key summit with around 20 members of the Swedish parliament to discuss the issue, with the minister for Financial Markets Niklas Wykman in attendance.

Skarplöth wrote in a blog post after the event that Wykman is “aware” of ATG’s concerns, adding that the minister said he is “not closing any doors” on the company’s alternative tax proposal.

Skarplöth wrote: “A casino tax instead of the horse tax, which it effectively becomes when ATG and the horse industry account for 40 per cent, just over 200 million, of the total tax increase.

“The minister used the word ‘exploitation’ several times, and I can only nod in agreement.

“It feels good that the minister does not say he has closed any doors, thus we will go to Almedalen with a crystal-clear focus.

“And after yesterday’s lunch, I hope that more decision-makers understand what a fair gambling company’s societal contribution can look like – besides offering people entertainment, pleasure and excitement, that is.”