Sweden has a tax agency and regulator of gambling known as Spelinspektionen, which licenses 86 companies in across Sweden; similar regulations also exist in relation to UK slot games. The new Bill regarding this was introduced into Sweden on the 5th April 2018 and has remained in place ever since. Its aim is to protect players and casinos, as well as to decrease the number of criminal activities occurring through unregulated gambling techniques. The Minister for Public Administration stated that the unregulated gambling and criminal gambling activities had flooded the market and it was time for them to make a stand, change the laws and regain their control over the gambling market within Sweden. But what does this really mean?
Gambling in Sweden
Under the 2018 gambling act, anyone operating within the gambling market in Sweden must have a license. Failure to do so will lead to them being shut down and prevented from further business in the gambling sector. A high level of protection must be felt towards players and users of gambling facilities, where any effects negative in the outcome must be kept to a minimum. One of the biggest things that the gambling act set out to overcome was to tackle, reduce and attempt to eradicate that of gambling fraud. This had become rife within Sweden but until the act came into place, this was not an official breaking of the law. The introduction of this law, as well as the creation and implementation of a special cooperation council, was thought to be able to solve a lot of the gambling fraud issues which were hugely detrimental to the world of gambling.
Swedish Gambling Sectors
There are three main sectors that the Swedish Authorities divided their gambling market in to, in order to help owners, developers and players understand the legalities, licensing and tax structures. The sectors were divided as follows:
- The competitive sector – this covers gambling and betting done in an online manner and covers online casinos which are the most convenient ways for players to place their bets and gamble from the comfort of their own homes;
- The non-profit sector – this sector relates to the most popular of gambling such as national lotteries and the playing of bingo as a social activity;
- The sector for central government – relating primarily to that of casinos and the gambling on token machines which are owned by the state.
When gambling is undertaken in Sweden in a place where the full and correct licensing is held, it will be taxed at 18%. The exception to this rule is the non-profit sector gambling institutes, such as playing bingo and participating in the lottery, as these are exempt from paying any sort of tax at all. Should a player win money when gambling via an unlicensed website, these winnings will be taxed. All of these tax stipulations were in play as of the 1st January 2019, but they weren’t the only stipulations that gambling and betting locations had to take into account to remain legalised and seen as valid by the authorities in Sweden. There was actually a whole list of regulations they have to stand by.
Swedish Gambling Bill Regulations
Not only did the licensing, tax and gambling fraud rules change within the Swedish gambling system but many other rules were also implemented and rolled out when the new law came in to force at the turn of 2019. Here is the entire list of all of the rules that any gambling house, betting shop or casino of any kind must abide by:
- It is the comprehensive duty of all licensed operators to protect all gamblers and protect them from excessive gambling;
- The marketing of gambling will be strictly moderated;
- It is paramount that there is the ability for all gamblers to be able to bar themselves from participating in any sort of gambling if they feel the need to do so. This would involve the cessation of bonuses after the first gambling occasion has passed;
- There must be a way for payment to be blocked so that gamblers cannot be at risk from unlicensed gambling operators. This will help lead to unlicensed operators being shut down and eliminated from the market so as to protect future gamblers;
- Warning messages will be ordered from the SGA through internet providers to warn players, gamblers and gamers of websites offering unlicensed gambling activities;
- It will be seen as a criminal offence to promote and advertise gambling without having the necessary licensing.
When Did Sweden Start Online Casinos?
Sweden began using online casinos and online gambling in all its glory in 2002, when The Lotteries Act was changed on the 1st August to incorporate the legal use of digital platforms. This means that the people of Sweden had access to be able to play specific types of games online such as instant scratch card games, Skrap-Bingo, Skrap-Pyramid, and Tia. Sweden had to wait a further three years until they had more online casino services which were not granted legality there until November 2005, when online poker was introduced.
Online Casino Popularity
Online casinos are hugely popular anywhere in the world due to their convenience factor, as most UK slots players will confirm. They can be played at any time, anywhere, and you don’t even have to leave your house to be able to participate in your favourite game and be in with a chance of winning a substantial amount of cash. Players enjoy online casinos because they can connect with players from around the world with ease and there are no limits to how much money they have to spend – you don’t have to be one of the wealthiest people on the planet to be able to participate, as you might feel you have to be if you venture in to the bricks and mortar style casinos. The choice of games is so much greater online, too, and this is definitely a selling point for many players – they are not only attracted towards their favourite games but they often want to find online casino sites where there is the chance of finding something new, exciting and with an impressive jackpot that they have every likelihood of being able to get their hands on.