Published on 19 October 2014 by Rhi
Sweden is quite a unique country when it comes to online gaming. Whilst online gaming is completely legal, they only offer a license to their own, state run, gaming operator and only Swedish licensed casinos may advertise their services to Swedish citizens. This doesn’t stop remote online casinos accepting, or even catering to, Swedish players, they just can’t advertise to them, making it very hard to get their name and service out there into the public.
EU law states that a country may restrict the online gambling options of their residents, but only in the interests of the players safety. They must demonstrate that they only wish to combat addiction, fraud and money laundering, and not be making the restriction in order for personal gain.
The issue in Sweden is that the law seems to be there simply to give a huge advantage to the government owned casino, essentially forcing players to use them, with no other choice, in order to boost their own profits. This law has been questioned constantly since 2007 and the concerns were further backed up by the fact Sweden dramatically increased their marketing budget after a bad year or so, in a bid to boost profits.
It’s quite clear to the European Commission that the law is in place purely to make money for the government, and through no interest to protect players. Pending the outcome of the court case, Sweden may be forced to open up their market to allow remote gaming websites to be licensed in Sweden and advertise their services to Swedish residents, thus abolishing their governments monopoly on gaming.
Online gaming is very popular in Sweden so this would be a huge step for many online casinos and it’s a drama we’re all watching unfold with bated breath. We’ll keep you posted on all the latest updates!