Legal Online Business
Until now, Svenska Spel has been the sole player in Sweden’s legal online casino business, being both state-owned and the only gambling company allowed a licence.
Despite this, a loophole whereby people have been able to bet with gambling websites based overseas means the majority of Swedish stakes are placed outside the country; a problem the government hopes their more liberal approach to licensing can solve.
The new legislation kicks in on January 1st next year, when any gambling website with a licence will be able to operate legally in Sweden.
So far a total of sixty websites have applied for the new licence and more are sure to follow. This compares to the mere ten who sought a licence when Poland tried the same thing last Spring.
There have been reports that the process has gone anything but smoothly, with tales of mistake-riddled applications leading to regulatory staff wasting time in chasing applicants for details.
Counter-accusations from the industry accuse the Swedish government of attempting to open the market up too quickly, encouraging applications before having published full details of what the new licences will actually permit.
Fears have also been raised that such saturation could lead to an unregulated gambling free-for-all.
These have been assuaged by operators eager to reassure people that safeguards will be in place and a new system, Spelpaus.se, will also be implemented to allow gamblers to self-exclude from all real-money accounts for as long as they wish.
What is also clear is that the ‘Re-regulation Bill’, as it’s known, will have strict controls on marketing, especially to under 18s.
Bonuses can only be offered to customers on their first betting occasion with a particular company. The bill also looks to counter problems such as match-fixing with a new ‘Cheating at Gambling Law’.
To the Swedish people, the government is promoting the influx of legalised online gambling websites as good for the public purse, with all profits being taxed at 18%.