Sweden: Svenska Spel to shut down Gothenburg and Malmö venues of Casino Cosmopol

Swedish lottery and gaming group Svenska Spel has announced that it will wind down its Casino Cosmopol operations in the cities of Gothenburg and Malmö. The decision comes as the state-run gaming group reorganizes the Casino Cosmopol unit, which faces “issues with profitability due to a decrease in visitor numbers.”

Svenska Spel is aiming to close the two casinos to limit losses, with the date pending the conclusion of union negotiations as the move is said to impact around 120 employees in Gothenburg and 80 in Malmö. 

Ola Enquist, Chief Executive of Casino Cosmopol, said: “This is an emotionally tough step to take as it affects many of our employees. We have taken a number of measures in an effort to increase revenue and reduce costs. Despite hard work, we see that the measures are not sufficient. Therefore, we now intend to wind down two of our casinos.”

In 2023, Svenska Spel initiated a strategic review of its Casino Cosmopol and Vegas Slot units, following consecutive years of revenue declines amid the rise of online casino. The continued challenges saw Svenska Spel report that the units had absorbed losses of SEK 52 million ($5.4 million) for year-to-date trading.

To turn around Cosmopol’s performance, Svenska Spel initiated an action program including organizational restructuring, changing opening hours, a new restaurant concept, and staff reductions. The efforts, however, did not fully succeed in helping with the casinos’ revenue decreases.

After the closure of Gothenburg and Malmö locations, the Casino Cosmopol venue in Stockholm will be the only remaining land-based casino in Sweden. As per reports, Svenska Spel said that its review of Casino Cosmopol is in cooperation with the Swedish state and trade unions.

Casino Cosmopol, Stockholm

Svenska Spel to undergo several changes in 2024

The group enters a new year full of changes, challenges and opportunities. The company will be led by new CEO Anna Johnson, succeeding Patrik Hofbauer in June 2024. Moreover, Svenska Spel is set to unveil its new Oddset sportsbook platform, powered by Kambi Group as the principal technology partner.

Outgoing CEO Patrik Hofbauer highlighted Svenska Spel’s commitment to providing the Swedish state’s land-based gaming offering and noted that difficult decisions had to be taken on loss-making units.

In the last ten years, online casinos have grown strongly, which changes the conditions for running land-based casinos,” Hofbauer said. “Despite significant measures, we see challenges to reach profitability for Casino Cosmopol. That is why we are now taking this further step to limit losses.”

Patrik Hofbauer

Casino Cosmopol fined in December for failing AML standards

Back in December, Casino Cosmopol was fined SEK 2 million ($200,000) for anti-money laundering (AML) failings after a probe by Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen. In addition to facing the financial penalty, the group was issued a warning.

According to Spelinspektionen, Casino Cosmopol “failed in its work with customer knowledge in several areas.” The company accepted the sanctions but underlined the historic nature of the issues, adding that current AML measures comply with requirements.

The brand’s measures now include player registration for gaming machines and tables, as well as lower gambling thresholds for interventions. Moreover, the company has also improved system support for recording and monitoring transactions.