This years i-Gaming Forum chairman:
Bengt Jönsson, former CEO of ATG
”With the moment in time that we have now the opportunity to be actively involved in this years i-Gaming Forum was too good an opportunity to pass on!
The anniversary 10th i-Gaming Forum in Stockholm on 17th-18th April, has a new chairman.
Former Olympic swimmer Bengt Jönsson, was the CEO of state-run horse tote operator ATG from 1998 to 2004.
– Since then, I have been following the Swedish gaming market from many different positions, he says.
The Swedish gaming market reregulates next year, which will be the discussion focal point, of the i-Gaming Forum 2018.
Parliament will be voting for this in May or June, and with only a couple of Riksdagens (parliaments) minority political parties expected to vote against – at the most – the whole country is preparing for a reregulated market in 2019.
Bengt, what took so long?
– The revenues from gaming have always been very important for the Swedish government. And the political will to reregulate has been weak. It has never been a big issue for the general public either, so therefore there has not been any urgency.
You were CEO of ATG (AB Trav & Galopp) for six years, our huge state-run horse racing tote operator with about 20 per cent of the Swedish gaming/gambling market. How do you think your former company ATG will fare, in the reregulated envinronment?
– I think ATG will do well. They have very strong “pool games” (V75, and other multi-race coupons), that are difficult to copy sucessfully. Since they offer large winning pools, that are the result of huge national participation, built over time. And ATG has also been preparing for a competitive market, for many years.
Do you see the Swedish sports community, benefitting from the reregulation? In terms of sponsorship and the like, from operators?
– The strong clubs in football and ice hockey particularly, will most likely benefit from the reregulation. However the individual sports, with the exception of some individual athletes, will probably not benefit from it.
You were an Olympic swimmer for Sweden in Montreal 1976 as a 20-year old, and until recently you were still on the board, of the Swedish Olympic committee.
– Yes. Hopefully, the Swedish Olympic Committee, can establish new, or strengthen current partnerships with gaming companies. And by doing the the individual Olympic sports will gain from such partnerships.
You left ATG in 2004, to pursue other projects. Why did you take up the challenge, to chairman this years i-Gaming Forum in Stockholm?
– Well, having worked in the industry for some time as a CEO, I really understand the Swedish gaming market. And I have also been following the gaming market over the years, since then, in many different positions. I’ve also been active within the Swedish Olympic Committee, and I am continuing to assist them in this regard, which is to say their contact with sports gaming.
– With the moment in time that we have now, with the reregulation, the opportunity to be actively involved in this years i-Gaming Forum was too good an opportunity to pass on!
Bengt Jönsson has vast experience of leading roles in gaming and sports in Sweden. He has been a board member of the Swedish Olympic Committee, The Swedish Swimming Association and the academy “Idrottsgalan/Idrottsakademin”
He is currently chairman of three boards, in the private business sector.
To round off… how did it go in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, in the 400 metre freestyle swimming?
– Ehhh… I did not get any medals, far from it, but it was a great experience and an honor to be part of the Swedish Olympic team. Once an Olympian, always an Olympian, as they say….