All gambling industries around the world, no matter how big or small, are supposed to follow a set of rules and regulations in order to function properly and provide customers with safe and well-protected against gambling-related harm. The rules tend to vary, with some of them being quite reasonable while others are more restrictive.
The Swedish gambling industry has gotten re-regulated recently, with the new rules affecting not only the gambling companies operating in the country and the local customers but the whole market.
The Government of Sweden has always regulated the local gambling sector, even before the Internet appeared and online gambling became available to users. Furthermore, there has been a State-owned monopoly controlling the entire gambling sector of the country.
There are three government-run land-based casinos on the territory of Sweden. All of them started offering online gambling services to local customers once the Internet appeared. So far, there have been some adjustments and re-adjustments in the Swedish gambling industry but the Government pretty much kept its overall policy to the sector, as the legislative and regulatory framework has remained rather strict, especially when it comes to independent gambling operators looking to establish themselves in the local market.
The changes in the country’s gambling legislation have had a massive impact on the local gambling industry as a whole, so understanding the history of the sector and the changes brought to the gambling regulation in Sweden is crucial for all companies that are willing to offer their services to Swedes.
Swedish Gambling Act Needed to Become More Adequate to Face the Needs of the Industry
As revealed above, the Swedish Government has always been on the stricter side when it comes to gambling regulation.
Historically, the local gambling market has been quite a mess for quite some time. Under the provisions of the country’s Gambling Act, the Government controlled the entire gambling sector in Sweden. This basically means that only state-owned gambling companies were allowed to operate on the territory of the country, allowing players to play for money.
Then, the Internet was born, and the further growth of the sector through the addition of online gambling was inevitable.
The expansion of the local gambling industry allowed Swedes to access foreign online gambling platforms but it made the Gambling Act ineffective and it had to undergo some changes. This is how the law providing the major legislative framework became subject to certain amendments in order to become more adequate to regulate the industry. Under the new rules, licensed gambling companies were allowed to operate in Sweden, breaking apart the monopoly over the sector.
The Swedish Government Introduced the Country’s New Gambling Act in 2019
The Swedish Government and the local gambling regulator had to recognize the unregistered gambling market in the country. Online gambling platforms’ patrons were operating on an unregistered market for more than 15 years, although online gambling became available in 2002 in Sweden.
The new Gambling Act was officially introduced in 2019.
The latest changes in the country’s legislative framework made sure that the Swedish Government could benefit from millions collected from both the gambling industry and the local gamblers as tax money. Under the new legislative rules, the Swedish gambling authority still has the right to approve or disapprove of any form of gambling, no matter if it comes to retail or online gambling operations. The local regulatory body also unveiled strict regulations on responsible gambling in order to provide maximum protection against gambling-related harm to Swedish players.
Apart from the changes mentioned above, a number of additional legislative clauses against money laundering and match-fixing were unveiled by Sweden’s gambling authority. The money laundering act is aimed at tackling money laundering in the country, with the Government trying to make it impossible for criminal organizations to use gambling as a way to fund such illegal practices. The match-fixing rules, on the other hand, are designed to prevent the potential manipulation of sports events for gambling-related benefits.
What Changes Has the New Gambling Regulation Brought to the Sector?
The readjustments brought to the regulation of the Swedish gambling sector have, of course, affected the industry.
The amendments to the Swedish Gambling Act and the new additions to the country’s regulatory framework have, without any doubt, have made both offline and online security of local gamblers better. To date, the Swedish Gambling Authority makes sure that all gambling companies that operate on the territory of the country are licensed and offer their services in line with local rules and regulations. All of this makes sure that Swedes have a safe gambling market to play at.
Another important effect that the amended Swedish gambling regulation has had on the local gambling sector, is the fact that the number of players increased. As mentioned above, the implementation of the new regulations has made it possible for licensed gambling companies to operate in Sweden, providing local gamblers with a variety of options to choose from.
Currently, most gambling companies in Sweden offer a vast range of incentives to attract new customers and retain the already existing customer base, including special promotions and bonuses such as free spins or cashback. The provision of free bets and various sign-up bonuses has been found lucrative by more Swedish customers who have decided to start gambling.
The implementation of the new legislative and regulatory rules has been helpful to the Swedish gambling industry, as the sector has been on the way to steady growth. According to analysts, the main two reasons for that were an increase in the number of gamblers and the improvement brought to the advertising channels available to companies. Gambling operators in the country are now able to openly advertise their services to local customers in case they are granted with operating permit by local regulatory authorities and their services are in line with regulations set by the relevant watchdogs.
Government Lifts Online Gambling Limits and Calls Regulator to Evaluate Customer Protection Measures
At the end of October, the Swedish Government revealed the current restrictions imposed on the country’s online gambling services, including a monthly deposit cap of SEK5,000 for online casino gambling, would be put to an end on November 14th. At the time, the Government also called for the gambling watchdog Spelinspektionen to evaluate the measures that were put in place so far and urged the regulatory body to propose new measures to enhance player protection.
Spelinspektionen is required to evaluate the temporary measures and submit an official report of the process by March 15th, 2022. The remainder of the report is set to be submitted by October 31st, 2023.
The temporary restrictions on online gambling in the country first took effect in June 2020. At the time, a deposit cap of SEK5,000 was implemented for online casino transactions, along with a SEK100 limit on bonuses offered by online gambling operators. They were initially supposed to last until the end of the previous year. However, the deadline was first extended to June 2021 and then, to the middle of November because of some negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spelinkspektionen suggested that the aforementioned restrictions would only have a “marginal effect” on the measures aimed at protecting local players from possible harm associated with online gambling. The country’s gambling regulator has also described the SEK5,000 online gambling deposit limit as relatively high.