Svenska Spel faces union backlash on Cosmopol closures

The board of Svenska Spel has been demanded to explain its reason for closing down the Casino Cosmopol venues in the cities of Gothenburg and Malmö.

As announced on 25 January, Svenska Spel, Sweden’s state-owned gambling firm, will shut down Cosmopol venues in Gothenburg and Malmö as part of the firm’s ongoing reorganization of its land-based gaming units.

The decision was taken to “limit losses,” in which Svenska Spel had previously reported that Cosmopol and Vegas arcade units had accrued losses of SEK 52m (€5m) for year-to-date trading.

Svenska Spel expects the closure of Cosmopol Gothenburg and Malmö venues will impact around 200 employees, with whom the company has begun negotiations with trade unions.

The Casino venues will be closed once negotiations are concluded, as Svenska Spel shrinks its Cosmopol unit to one casino operating in Stockholm.

Hotell- och Restaurangfacket (HRF), Sweden’s labour union for Hotel and Restaurant Workers, responded, stating that it had “different views on whether it is possible to run the business or not.”

Speaking to Swedish media, Union lawyer Eva-Lotta Ramberg cited: “It’s no secret that we don’t agree with the decision.”

“For our part, it is important to show that our opinion is firm. It is possible to continue the business in Malmö and Gothenburg.”

With negotiations set to begin, HRF cited that as a state-owned enterprise, Svenska Spel must clearly outline why it chose to shut down the venues, and not pursue other options available.

Should HRF be unsatisfied with Svenska Spel’s response, the labour union may demand the government to intervene in the closure, as Ramberg expressed: “Even our representative on the company board struggled to show our position.”

“Should the parties not agree locally, the union can choose to raise the issue further to the central level.”