Swedens trotting executive Johan Lindberg:
“The most important step, is to separate our organisation from ATG”
Johan Lindberg ST[/caption]
One of the key aspects of the Swedish reregulation, is that Swedish horseracing (notably trotting) is no longer a gambling product, with state controlled ATG as the monopoly operator.
But will so much actually change?
ATG is 90 per cent owned by Svensk Travsport (ST, harness racing) and 10 per cent owned by Svensk Galopp (SG, thoroughbred racing).
The head of ST, Secretary General Johan Lindberg, here clears the air on the future exclusively for i-Gaming Forum.
Johan Lindberg has had close cooperation with ATG (AB Trav & Galopp) and it’s CEO Hans Skarplöth for a long time.
But Lindberg emphasises, that this is not a partnership carved in stone.
“We are interested in working with anyone, who can contribute to an increased awareness and publicity, a better experience and a better economy for Swedish trotting”, he says.
Since Swedish harness racing/trotting has been a world class product from the 70s up till now, equalled only by France and possibly the United States, Lindberg considers the gambling reregulation that should be in place on January 1, 2019 as something offering both opportunity and threats.
“It’s a new situation. We are comfortable with the fact, that we have an attractive product, that we can also improve. Personally, I think the reregulation gives us opportunities, to increase revenue and available resources for Swedish trotting as a sport.”
ATG has roughly 20 per cent of the Swedish gambling market at the moment. Compared to Svenska Spel, with about 40 per cent (this is including the land based “Casino Cosmopol” casinos).
The main trotting product that ATG has developed so far, is the big Saturday pool V75 (which nowadays also runs other days than Saturdays).
This sees the whole of Sweden often investing over 100 million Swedish kronor (over 10 million euro) in the immensely popular “Pick Seven” trotting races.
The product is so developed and successful, that many operators think it is impossible to compete with these kind of products even after reregulation.
But Lindberg is convinced that other operators will try, even more so now that the market is reregulating.
“The thing with a good pool, is that it is a big pool. ATG has through many years, together with high quality trotting races, built big pools. But we see already today, unregulated operators having a go at pools. And of course, more will try. Long term, it is not impossible that several countries will cooperate, and offer big horseracing pools to several operators.”
What steps have Svensk Travsport taken, to prepare for the reregulation?
“Many. We are really hard on the case right now, but the most important step is to separate our organisation from ATG. We have to be able to offer our product to everyone, on equal terms, on the open market.”
Sweden is one of the leading countries in the world, for trotting. Actually the world leader, outside of France and the USA. Can you see the reregulation as a welcome catalyst, for selling this fantastic product to the rest of the world?
“Yes, hopefully it can contribute to that. There is no better betting or gambling experience, than a tight home stretch with many horses. And our sport is very strong.”
Johan Lindberg points out that it is very important, once the reregulation takes place, to focus on possibilities. Rather than the details, that in the beginning may not turn out, exactly as expected.
And going forward, for Lindberg it is very important, that the “Sport continues to run the sport”.
“The gaming and gambling markets should never threaten the integrity of our sport”, he says to i-Gaming Forum.