Re-regulation of the Swedish Gambling Market

Sweden is finally getting round to re-regulate its gambling market after years of planning. The Swedish Gambling Authority has officially started to accept license applications since yesterday. Expected to enter into force on 1st January 2019, the new law will open up Sweden’s e-gaming industry to private sectors. Companies with authorised licenses will be able to operate in the Swedish gambling market, while those without a license will be shut out.

Swedish Flag during Gambling Regulation

A Short History of the Swedish Gambling Practice

Sweden’s gambling history began when the Vikings were in power. Legends suggest a land dispute with Norway was settled with a game of dice back in the 11th century. In 1934, the state gambling monopoly was established in order to eliminate illegal betting activities. Thereafter, Swedish gamblers will have to go for one of the four state-owned casinos, or jump onto a cruise ship to bet on international waters.

Thanks to the rise of online casinos and the EU law, which allows Swedish gamblers to play freely at any EU-based online casino, the state-owned casinos in Sweden are losing plenty of market shares to international operators. The Swedish government has finally realised that monopoly is no longer working in 2018.

The New Legislation

So, what's new? Below is a summary of Sweden’s new legislation:

  • Operators will pay 18% tax for commercial gaming
  • 0% tax rate for non-profit gambling activities
  • 6 different types of licenses
  • License prices: 400 000 - 700 000 SEK
  • Players have to be 18+ to play online and 21+ to enter a physical casino

By introducing the new law, the Swedish government aims to increase government revenue while creating a safe gambling market. For instance, gamblers will be able to disable their accounts all over the country in a single action. Illegal gambling activities will receive increased punishments. Hence, improved consumer protection, game security and clearer market conditions are expected.

The 6 Types of Licenses

Licensed Type Games included Restrictions
State-owned games Casinos, slots and some forms of lotteries State-owned companies only
Public purposed games Some forms of lotteries Non-profit organisation only
Commercial online games Casinos, slots and bingo Any company fitting the quality requirements
Betting All types of online and offline betting Any company fitting the quality requirements
Commercial land-based games Slot games and card games outside a casino Any company fitting the quality requirements
Cruise ship games Casinos and slots Cruise ships on international waters

The new law will be applicable to all forms of gambling occurring in Sweden or targeting Swedish players. Private operators will be given equal opportunity to compete with the state-owned casinos in terms of advertising.

International Interest in Stockholm Stock Exchange

Sweden plays a significant role in the gambling industry. A number of leading casino operators, such as Mr Green and Leo Vegas, have a Swedish root but had to set up their headquarters aboard because of the monopoly. It is expected that some of these operators may move back from Malta to Sweden after the re-regulation.

The introduction of the new law has undoubtedly made Sweden more appealing as an online gambling hub. The large number of operators that have shown interest in Stockholm Stock Exchange since the announcement of the new legislation is the solid proof.