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Gambling in Sweden - Licensing, Status, and Incoming Changes

Changes Coming To Sweden in 2019

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In Sweden, the government-owned Svenska Spel has a monopoly on conducting casino activities, being the only one with a gambling license. This has led to many criticisms and some failed attempts in courts to rescind its monopoly. Some even argue that the present laws violate the competition rules and regulations defined by the European Union, but the Swedish government has been able to resist all forms of pressure to change.

Strangely, for a matter involving a free trade, the European Court of Justice has always ruled in the favour of Svenska Spel, observing that the monopoly created in this case is both rational and balanced with the aim of protecting its citizens from all illegal or fraudulent operators.

Nonetheless, all types of gambling are completely legal, on the condition that the operator is given a special license and it is entirely based outside Sweden. Our source from Nya-Casinon, a Swedish casino comparison website stated that countries like Malta, Gibraltar and Cyprus, that allow by law gambling activities, are the home of several Swedish gaming companies that direct their business towards the Swedish players.

Gambling in Sweden: The Status

Sweden has only 4 land-based casinos, all known as Casino Cosmopol, located in Sundsvall, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. They have all kinds of games including blackjack, slots, poker, and more. The minimum age to be able to participate is 20. All of these casinos are completely owned by the government-owned Svenska Spel. Land-based gambling became legal in 1994, but online gambling got legalised in 2002. Despite multiple criticisms of the gambling law in Sweden, the state of gambling in Sweden remains monopolised.

Svenska Spel is owned by the Swedish government and it covers up to 50% of Sweden’s gambling market with brands like Poker, Bingo, Kino, Lottos, online casinos, and many more. Even the popular scratch-card game Triss is also run by Svenska Spel. Responsible gaming is Svenska Spel’s number one pride. Because it is government-owned, the profit the company makes goes to the Swedish national treasury. Svenska Spel paid out a sum of 12 billion SEK in 2011 where 347 of the total winners became millionaires.

Gambling in Sweden: 2019 Changes

New and improved changes have been proposed for January 2019. These changes have been prepared for over a year and a half and are applicable to the land-based casinos, online-based casinos, lottery, casinos that are operating in the betting and cruise ships services too. The Swedish government began the enterprise and Lotteriinspektionen Director General, Håkan Hallstedt, spearheaded the inquiry. The purpose of the changes is to remove the current monopoly of Svenska Spel over the online casino industry.

The changes in regulation will enable new online casinos to apply for a license and automatically, gamblers will benefit from a better regulated and safe gambling market. License applications started from August 2018. All information and documents are written in Swedish. The documentation and application for a license should be in Swedish and in compliance with its gambling regulations. Applications will only be processed after the application fee is paid. Forms can only be downloaded from Lotteriinspektionen.

Gambling in Sweden: Conclusion and References

Over the years, the Swedish government has been criticised for monopolising the online gambling industry, with Svenska Spel taking up most of the online casino industry. The Swedes eventually succumbed to pressure from these criticisms by introducing changes to the Swedish gambling laws, which will overturn the monopoly. This will finally give private operators the chance to apply for gambling licenses in Sweden, though gamblers can legally gamble online with casinos that have legitimate licenses.