National gambling laws in Sweden are paving the way for a regulated open gaming market.
By last Thursday’s vote of 282-19, Sweden’s Parliament voted in a new bill covering licensing, international cooperation, responsible gambling, supervision and fees.
The laws will take effect at January 1, 2019.
According to the new bill, gaming licence fees will be SEK400,000 (€38,900/$45,900) and SEK700,000 for companies that want to offer both online gambling and betting. Swedish gambling regulator Lotteriinspektionen begins accepting applications August 1.
Entitled Re-Regulation of the Gambling Market (En omreglerad spelmarknad), the reforms will replace Sweden’s antiquated Lottery Act of 1994 and Casino Act of 1999. The laws will remove Sweden’s unpopular monopoly acts that restricted gambling services to several state-run entities, including the most well-known Svenska Spel, which came to be synonymous with the monopoly.
Key approval in the form of a referral from the Committee on Cultural Affairs paved the way for final Parliamentary approval.
The next bureaucratic hurdle looming is the European Commission’s review of secondary legislation, to which the Swedish Gambling Authority will also likely add updates, adaptations, and adjustment.
The only significant opposition to the bill came from Sweden’s Left party, with the seven other Parliamentary parties and three independents all voting in favour in a rare show of unity across so many party lines.
The prevailing logic was the need to prevent rampant illegal gambling, as articulated by Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi:
“Unregulated gambling has taken over and gambling is used in criminal activities. It is 14 years since the first of a line of gambling inquiries was appointed. It is now time for us to move from words to action and regain control of the Swedish gambling market.”
With market research showing from Kanta Sifo indicating that unlicensed gambling operators were among the country’s top 20 advertisers in 2017, the need to regulate activity has peaked. That looks like the straw that has broken the monopoly camel’s back.
The positive to take away is that now Sweden’s market will be open to all operators, making services safer for players while dissolving the unsightly monopoly permanently. This is also a significant boost for greater seamless integration of online gambling activities, with Sweden joining the global regulated community to look forward to the many social benefits that a regulated environment can bring.