Insider Uncovers More Details On Sweden ‘s Online Gambling Regulation Draft

A few more details about the nearing regulation of Sweden ’s online gambling market emerged late last week. In a post on his LinkedIn page, Mark Knighton, Founder and CEO of Gothenburg-based business consultant Obsidian Consultancy, discussed several important provisions that were understood to have been included in Sweden’s draft gambling legislation.

The provisions covered several important areas, including licensing, taxation, and protection of gambling customers, once the Scandinavian country’s new gambling laws come into effect.

Under the new set of regulations, due to take effect on January 1, 2019, interested international operators will be able to obtain licenses from Lotteriinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Authority, and to operate in a regulated environment. Licenses will be valid for a period of five years.

At present, the state-run operator Svenska Spel is the only gambling company authorized to operate gambling services in the country, including online gaming and betting. However, foreign operators have been targeting local players for years. In fact, Sweden’s unregulated iGaming market accounted for a quarter of the country’s whole gambling sector during the first nine months of 2017.

Unlicensed operators generated revenue of SEK4.045 billion during the period in question, while Sweden’s whole gambling market was worth SEK16.557 billion.

The new law will put certain restrictions on the way bonuses are distributed to gambling Swedes. Under the draft legislation, there will only be one-off bonuses for players upon opening an account with a given licensed operator. Previous versions of the legislative piece included proposals that bonuses were kept but under certain circumstances.

Under the proposed gambling regulations, Lotteriinspektionen will be authorized to request that local Internet service providers display a message warning Swedish gambling customers that they have accessed unregulated gambling websites.

Payment service providers may be ordered to block transactions between Swedish residents and unlicensed operators. The measure will come as another one aimed to reduce black market operations within the country’s borders.

Sweden’s draft legislation on gambling also includes responsible gambling provisions. Under one such provision, all players will be obligated to set deposit limits. In addition, each licensed operator will have to comply with a set of rules to ensure that its services are provided in a socially responsible environment.

A review into the state of Sweden’s gambling industry was published last spring. It recommended that the country opened its market for international operators through a licensing system, and that such operators were taxed at 18% on full-year gross gambling revenue. It was understood that the 18% tax rate was included in the draft legislation.

The Swedish government submitted the legislative piece to the European Commission late last year. The legislation thus entered a three-month period of standstill, during which EU authorities would review it. This means that it cannot be adopted in its home country within said three months. The formal standstill period ends on March 20, 2018.

Swedish politicians have recently said that the local gambling regulator will begin accepting license applications from interested operators in mid-2018. As mentioned above, the new regulatory framework is expected to take effect on January 1, 2019.