Swedish Gambling Authority Licensed Casinos

As proposed by Swedish authorities on 31 March 2017, the Swedish gambling market will never be the same from 1 January 2019. This puts an end to the Svenska Spel online gambling monopoly and opens the door for more operators to apply for licences. In fact, operators who did not hold a permit accounted for SEK 5.5 billion in gross gaming revenue in 2017 alone! And to reflect a new era of national gambling, the 1995-founded Swedish Gambling Authority even changed its name to Spelinspektionen.

The changes in regulation apply not only to online gaming but also to national lotteries, gaming machines, restaurant casinos as well as certain bingo permits. From 2019, licensed operators shall pay a tax of 18 per cent of the profit they make on gambling.

Similarly, to the Lotteries Act introduced in 1995, the goal of the newly-formed authority is to contribute to a reduction of illegal gambling and lottery operations by adding additional responsibility for control and supervision of gambling and lottery activities in Sweden.

Spelinspektionen is controlled by the Ministry of Finance and its Board is appointed by the Government. The office is located in Strängnäs (the pearl of Mälaren), which is about a hundred kilometres to the east of Stockholm.

The Swedish Gambling Authority consists of three departments: The Operational Department (for licensing and compliance), the Department of Administrative and Legal Affairs and the Communication Department. Although one of its main goals is to reduce the potentially harmful social effects which gambling may entail, the authority is not involved in consumer complaints concerning money lost on placed bets or from a gaming machine. That is a responsibility of the Swedish Consumer Agency.

Nevertheless, each licensed operator in Sweden must follow a set of rules, safeguarding their customers in one way or another. Here are a few solutions and constraints:

  • A gambling operator that has been granted a licence must protect players from excessive gambling. This should include monitoring behaviours and, if necessary, helping players to limit their gambling.
  • A bonus may only be offered on the first gambling occasion.
  • Via the gambling authority, a player shall be able to exclude himself or herself from gambling with all licence holders.

For the most part, that’s standard practice, although it’s interesting to see how the rule of one bonus holds over the years and if or how operators will find ways to circumvent that restriction. After all, the total gross gaming revenue (GGR) for 2017 accounted for SEK 22 755 million, which makes it SEK 2,252 or over €200 per inhabitant (turnover)!

At the time of changes, it seems that many smaller and internationally licensed operators with Swedish roots like Mr Green, LeoVegas, Betsson, Cherry and Kindred Group will continue to offer their services but with the Swedish license. This should at least add additional peace of mind to their customers, knowing that the government is now part of their supervision. How will this impact the overall gaming culture in the country is to be seen in the nearby future.

For more information, please visit: www.lotteriinspektionen.se


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