Svenska Spel Loses ATG Court Appeal
Svenska Spel has lost its appeal against Aktiebolaget Trav och Galopp (ATG) over the use of the phrase “Trav och Galopp” in a new racing product. The Patent and Market Court of Appeal determined that Svenska Spel’s use of the phrase, which translates to “trot and gallop” in English, was an infringement on ATG’s company name.
The initial trademark lawsuit was launched by ATG in December 2020, following a dispute between ATG chief executive Hasse Lord Skarplöth and Svenska Spel counterpart, Patrik Hofbauer. ATG’s court victory was lauded by Skarplöth, who stated, “It was important to establish that a competitor does not have the right to use our company name and exploit its good reputation.”
This legal blow for Svenska Spel comes amid other challenges for the company. The closure of its Casino Cosmopol venues in Gothenburg and Malmö has been announced in an effort to mitigate losses. These closures will impact around 200 jobs, as online casinos have heavily affected Casino Cosmopol’s visitor numbers in recent years. The liquidations leave the Casino Cosmopol in Stockholm as the only remaining land-based casino in Sweden.
In addition to these closures, Casino Cosmopol faced a SEK2m fine in December for anti-money laundering failings, with Svenska Spel also receiving a warning. The company’s Q3 report had already indicated a stall in retail earnings and revenue due to sector-wide pressures on the market, and despite efforts to adapt business practices, the closures were ultimately inevitable.
In contrast, ATG seems to be thriving in the Swedish market. The company reported a double-digit rise in operating profit for the three-month period up to September 30, 2023, with net gaming revenue increasing by 4.5% and total revenue increasing by 3.0% year-on-year. Additionally, ATG has been vocal in its opposition to Sweden’s government plans to increase gambling tax rates, calling for differentiated tax rates across the gambling sector to protect the interests of horse betting and sports sectors.
In conclusion, Svenska Spel’s legal setback and business challenges come on the backdrop of ATG’s success in the Swedish market and its stance against potential tax changes. Regardless, both companies continue to navigate the evolving regulatory and market landscape.