If you have been following the developments in the gambling industry in the past year, you are probably aware that countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, and the U.S. have been passing new gambling laws. New regulations are adopted to filter and limit the number of online casino operators available on the specific market, as well as to promote safe and responsible gambling. In the current issue of the magazine, we are going to explore the Swedish Gambling Act and how it affects the gambling industry in Sweden.
In pursue of control over the unregulated gambling market, the Swedish Government adopted a new gambling act and a system for licensing online casinos at the beginning of the year. Any operator offering services in the fast-growing Swedish market has to apply for a license. Any casino which does not hold a license will be prosecuted by the law. In addition, players will get additional protection and help with gambling addiction.
The new Swedish Gamblng Act was voted by the parliament on June 14 2018 and entered into force in the beginning of this year. The regulation brought an end to the gambling monopoly in the country and shaped a newly regulated market.
Main Legislation Points:
• Providers have to pay an 18% tax on revenue.
• Non-profit organizations do not have to pay tax on gambling activities.
• Only one bonus is available per player.
• Six different types of licenses are available.
• The price of the licenses varies from SEK 400.000 (EUR 40,000) to SEK 700.000 (EUR 70,000).
• The minimum age to play at an online casino is 18. The minim age for brick and mortar casinos is 21.
• Players must set deposit limits for daily, weekly and monthly wagers
• License holders have to take measures to prevent gambling addiction
• Players can self-exclude and pause their accounts from all licensed gambling sites through registration in the National Self-Exclusion Registry.
• The delay between slot spins must be a minimum of 3 seconds.
• Withdrawals can be issued only to the same payment service used for the deposit.
Since January 2019 the Swedish gambling market is divided up into three categories: A competitive sector which will include online gambling and sports betting, a non-profit sector which encompasses lotteries and bingo, and the central government sector that covers state-owned casinos and gambling on token machines. Private operators are only allowed to operate after they apply for a license from the Spelinspektionen (Swedish Gambling Authority). As of September 2019, more than 120 casinos have been granted a license. Online casino operators will also have to pay an 18% tax on their revenue unless they are working as a non-profit. Players, on the other hand, will still get their winnings tax-free.
Compared to other countries, like the neighboring Denmark, which imposes a 20% gambling tax, Sweden offers better opportunities for gambling operators. It is also expected that Sweden could become one of the largest European regulated states in terms of revenue.
According to data sourced by Spelinspektionen, the regulated part of Sweden’s gambling market brought about SEK17.07 billion (EUR 1.7 billion) of revenue in 2017. During the same time, unregulated operators generated revenue of SEK5.534 billion (EUR 550 billion). These figures clearly suggest that the gambling market in Sweden is set for a bright future.
Fairness and customer protection are also heavily emphasized in the new regulation. Since gambling addiction has been a growing issue in the Nordic country, the government imposed new measures to deal with the problem. Players can now pause or ban their accounts nationwide through the National Self-Exclusion Registry. Gaming operators were required to adjust their available promotions for Swedish players, as now casinos are only able to offer one bonus per player for their entire lifetime. This means that players will no longer be able to participate in any additional promotions or get VIP points. Therefore, game developers had to make adjustments, as well. For example, there must be a minimum of three seconds gap between slot spins; a requirement aimed to prevent addiction.
What does the legislation mean for players?
The new law works hugely in favor of the Swedish people. Thanks to the new legislation, players will be offered a choice of the best online casinos, which promote responsible and fair gambling. Some of the names which have already received a license include Playzee, PlayoJo, Casumo, 888 and more.
The new gambling regulation aims to give players the freedom to choose and at the same time, protect them from unethical practices. Gambling providers who do not hold a license are banned from advertising, and the Swedish Gambling Authority can block transactions to such casinos. The laws are also aiming to provide safe gambling and prevent gambling addiction. All online casinos are now required to give players the option to set daily/weekly/monthly limits on their bets. Self-assessment tests should also be easily accessible on the casino site.
The government will also benefit from the new regulations. Since the gambling market in Sweden has been growing in the past few years, the government saw the chance to collect some additional revenue in the form of taxes and licensing fees. In the case of Sweden, licensed operators have to pay 18% on their profits from the Swedish market.
As the new legislation has been in effect for a little over eight months, it is still early to judge how the new regulations have affected the Swedish gambling industry. Some areas of the law are still a bit unclear, e.g., the definition of moderate advertising and more, are yet to be defined by the law. In any case, the Swedish market saw some major changes this year, a trend that is likely to continue in the future.
Magazine Issue 6, Article List