Swedish Gambling Market Faces Big Changes Thanks To New Bill
The Swedish gambling market has not done as well as it should have in the past few years. One of the reasons for a dip in performance is due to the fact that there are a lot of unlicensed gaming providers who have been operating in the country for some time now.
This has exposed local players to unsafe gaming practices and scams as many unscrupulous operators have taken advantage of Sweden’s liberal gaming laws.
However, all of this is expected to change as new legislation is going to be submitted to open up the market in a more legal manner. The main driving force behind this legalization is because of recent research into the country’s gambling industry.
Spearheading this push is Ardalan Shekarabi, who is the Minister of Public Administration. The results from the research show that only a quarter of the gambling market is under the control of legitimate gambling operators. This means a lot of lost revenue for the government.
Under the new legislation, the government will have total control of casinos, lotteries, and other offline gambling venues, For digital offerings like sports betting and online casinos, independent operators will be the ones in charge – and that’s what will interest a lot of investors.
The European Commission (EC) has already received a copy of the coming bill that will manage Sweden’s gambling for the foreseeable future and has until March 20, 2018 to submit feedback on the bill. If there is any need for amendments, the EC will request for it, but if everything is fine, then the bill will proceed. Sweden will start accepting applications for online gambling licenses from July 2018. and expects its new gaming laws to take effect from Jan 2019.
What these licenses primarily allow is online gambling. Any qualified operator can apply for a gaming license. Each license will allow valid operations for five years. Licensed operators will be allowed to offer their services to Swedish players and will need to pay 18% of their revenue in taxes. This is actually a pretty reasonable rate when compared to some of the other international gaming markets across the world.
The new bill also makes it mandatory for online gambling providers in Sweden to have their servers based in Sweden. The usual practice is that international operators have their servers located overseas while offering services in Sweden. This will now change as Sweden wants its online gambling operators to have their servers in Sweden, so that the authorities can inspect them whenever they want – if required.
The main thrust of the legislation is to protect Swedish online gamblers and to cut down on illegal online operations. To do this, the bill has deposit limits for all players, heavy fines for operators who permit underage gambling and strict penalties for illegal operators.