Svenska Spel, the Swedish state-owned gambling operator, made an announcement on Wednesday regarding the potential closure of two of its land-based venues. The venues in question are the Casino Cosmopol in Gothenburg and Malmö.
The decision comes after Svenska Spel implemented an action plan in an attempt to revitalize Casino Cosmopol. This plan included a significant restructuring of the organization, a reduction in the number of employees, simplifying the concept of the restaurant, and reducing working hours and days. However, despite these efforts, the share of online gambling continued to grow, resulting in further negative development for Casino Cosmopol.
Svenska Spel confirmed its intention to close the two venues in order to limit losses. However, the closure is subject to negotiations with the union. If the operations in Gothenburg were to be discontinued, approximately 120 employees would be affected. Similarly, the closure of Casino Cosmopol in Malmö may impact 80 more workers. Following this decision, Svenska Spel would be left with Casino Cosmopol in Stockholm, which is the largest venue and the last remaining brick-and-mortar casino in Sweden.
The decision to close the two casinos comes at a time when there has been a decreasing share of the land-based sector within the gaming industry in Sweden. The state-owned operator attributed this shift to the significant growth of the online gambling sector, particularly after the reregulation of the industry in 2019. The pandemic further impacted its land-based operations, leading to the closure of Casino Cosmopol.
Patrik Hofbauer, the president and CEO of Svenska Spel, acknowledged the ongoing trend of people shifting towards online gambling and emphasized the challenges in reaching profitability for Casino Cosmopol. Ola Enquist, CEO of Casino Cosmopol, also reiterated the efforts to reduce costs and increase revenue, but noted that the measures were deemed insufficient and ultimately led to the tough decision to wind down two of their casinos.
The closure of the two venues will have a significant impact on many of the operator’s employees. Both Hofbauer and Enquist recognized the emotional difficulty of the decision and expressed their concerns for the affected workers.