Swedish Regulation Reforms Officially in LimboPublished February 18, 2015 by Lee R
Key issues still need to be resolved before bringing regulation reforms to the table.
Gambling regulation is off the table in Sweden for now.
Parliament Has Its Own Priorities
In one of the most popular countries for online gambling, Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi says Parliamentary re-regulation for gambling in the currently monopolized Swedish market will not take place until completion of general budgetary negotiations in Parliament.
Swedish reforms in general will be delayed, pending resolution of the more pressing general Spring Budget hearing which will take place in April.
Specific Gambling Issues Remain Too
Shekarabi also warned that issues needed to be resolved prior to moving forward with regulation even after the budget. Lingering Swedish Parliamentary concerns about problem gambling and the impact of gambling advertising in the country indicate that a fully regulated market allowing entry of foreign operators into Sweden's large and receptive public market is simply not yet ready to happen.
Advertising and Market Size
The current presence and positioning of gambling advertising from unlicensed operators has proven problematic to the Swedish regulatory body Lotteriinspektionen, who in one recent case admonished organisers of the Swedish motor racing event rally Sweden for allowing a participant to display a logo from casino operator Leo Vegas on its car.
Shekarabi firmly cautioned that caps on the visibility and regularity of gambling-related advertising in Sweden would still have to be devised as a policy initiative before an actual regulation vote can take place in Sweden, as well as the size of the market.
Slow Down Unibet et al
This will clearly temper if not reverse expansion plans for operators, who understandably have been formulating strategy based on the recent pledge by Sweden to accelerate plans to reform gambling regulation. This pledge was made after the European Commission referred the country to the European Court of Justice in October last year, for non-compliance. In a country where gambling is wildly popular, prominent operators such as Unibet and Paf will have to for all intents and purposes hurry up and wait for the chance to get a slice of the pie now dominated by the Svenska Spel monopoly.
And that wait could stretch all the way until 2019. For now, operators need to turn their expansion plans elsewhere. No one said it would be easy.