Sweden moves forward with national gambling reform

As anticipated the Swedish government has published its long-awaited revamped national gambling policy, in which it will open a new licensing window for online gambling/betting operators.

Re-regulating the market, Swedish policymakers have placed a significant emphasis on consumer protections, industry responsibility, monitoring of betting enterprises combined with an all-around improvement in standards.

The revamped framework, sees the Swedish government split its gambling industry into three separate compartments;

  • Open/Competitive – For new licensed online gambling/betting operators.
  • Public interest – Charitable firms servicing lottery and bingo products.
  • State Enterprise – Servicing land-based casinos and gaming machine operators.

New Swedish online gambling incumbents will be taxed at 18% gross gaming revenue charge, with the government placing no taxes on consumer play or winnings.

Updating stakeholders, the Swedish government has introduced a new code of conduct, which all gambling stakeholders must adhere to. New responsibility provisions include;

  • A comprehensive duty to protect customers, with all licensed operators offering player self-exclusion services.
  • Players must have the ability to ‘turn-off’ gaming content they choose.
  • Licensed operators can only promote certified games content approved by the Swedish gambling regulator, Lotteriinspektionen.
  • Player bonuses can only be offered once as a customer sign-up incentive and used at ‘first time of play’.

The new policies will see the Swedish government secure its market against unlicensed operators. The government will be able to block suspected payment transactions between consumers and unlicensed operators, as well as instruct local ISP to block access to unlicensed gambling portals.

Presenting Sweden’s revamped gambling framework Ardalan Shekarabi, Minister of Civil Affairs stated;

“We strengthen the Lottery Inspectorate as the Game Inspectorate and give the Authority more and more powerful tools. Unlicensed actors shall be closed outside and licensees shall conduct their business in accordance with the law. We also today give an assignment to the State Office to follow up the reform in order to quickly adjust the law if the objectives of the reform are not met. It is crucial that sustainable funding for the community is not jeopardized”

Swedish policy stakeholders will now move to implement the new legislation by 1 January 2019

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