International edition
September 29, 2020

Gov't aims to replace current monopoly and further liberalize market

Sweden could regulate online gambling by 2019

Sweden could regulate online gambling by 2019
Following media reports from earlier last week, the results from a year-and-a-half long probe into Sweden’s gambling industry were published Friday.
Sweden | 04/03/2017

Following media reports from earlier last week, the results from a year-and-a-half long probe into Sweden’s gambling industry were published Friday.

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ommissioned by the Swedish government and led by Lotteriinspektionen Director General Håkan Hallstedt, the review recommends that the country scraps Svenska Spel’s current monopoly over online gambling and replace it with a more liberal licensing system.

Interested international operators will thus be able to apply for licenses and if certain requirements are met, to obtain such licenses from the local gambling authority.

Swedish media reported that the gambling industry review suggested that an 18% tax on gross revenue be imposed on companies that opt for the country’s regulated markets. The proposed tax rate is a bit higher than the 15% one on gross gaming revenue the UK collects from operators, but lower than Denmark’s tax rate of 20%. With that said, the Swedish tax rate can be deemed a reasonable one.

When a new regulatory framework is introduced and implemented, all unlicensed iGaming operations provided within the country’s borders will be considered illegal and will be sanctioned heavily.

Speaking of their findings and proposals, Mr. Hallstedt said that the new regulatory framework will encompass all kinds of gambling services from land-based casino operations through lottery, betting, iGaming, and casino operations on cruise ships.

It is believed that the new regulatory regime will become effective as from January 1, 2019. According to initial forecasts, 90% of all Swedish online players will prefer the regulated gambling environment to playing on unregulated and often dangerous websites.

First Reactions to the Proposed New Regulations

Major online gambling operator Kindred Group was among the first to react to the gambling review’s recommendations. The company operates the Unibet online gaming and betting brand, among many others.

In a press release from Friday, the gambling group said it welcomed the proposal for a new regulatory regime in Sweden and that lawmakers should not hesitate to introduce the new licensing system as quickly as possible and that any delays could “endanger the whole reform.” The Unibet brand is currently one of the big names on the Swedish unregulated landscape. The operator’s positive disposal toward today’s proposals must be a very bright indication that it will seek a license from the local regulators when the time for this comes.

Despite being headquartered in Malta, Kindred Group is one of many major gambling companies whose origins could be traced to Sweden and the Nordics as a whole. There has been growing demand for iGaming in the region and as a result, more and more operators have focused their attention on servicing local players.

At first glance the new regulatory proposals seem reasonable enough and are not likely to scare off gambling companies from Sweden when and if they come into effect.

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