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Before the world drinks itself silly again for St Patrick's Day - we've investigated the surprisingly strong link between the holy...
Published on by James
Tomorrow, on January 1st, 2019, the Swedish gambling market will witness the first day of its new liberalised regulation.
The wait for this new legislation to come into force has been longer – well over a year – and soon all the preparation will pay off.
It’s aim is to provide more customer protection, punish unauthorised operators, and liberalise the market by opening it up to foreign operators.
To help our readers get to grips with what will be happening in the next few weeks, after the clocks strike midnight tonight, we thought we’d sum it up in a short and handy guide.
Here you can find out what the change is, why it’s happening, what effect it will have and what NetEnt casinos already have licenses.
This overhaul of Sweden regulation came about as a consequence of consultation by the Swedish Government – which took the form of a government-commissioned panel headed by the general director of Lotteriinspektionen (Sweden’s gambling regulatory agency), Hakan Hallstedt.
The panel released a 1,340 report in March 2017 that recommended liberalising the Swedish gambling market and removing the online and on-land monopoly held by the state-owned company Svenska Spel (however, it is assumed that, for now, Svenska Spel will retain its monopoly of on-land based casinos).
Following the report, a draft of the new legislation was drawn up and sent to the European Commission for an initial vetting. With its standstill period ending in March of the following year (2018), the government began accepting applications for their new licenses that July and the change will come into effect tomorrow.
The change is rather simple: it is a long list of new laws that allow companies to operate within Sweden and the Swedish online market but compels them to follow a host of regulations and rules in order to do so.
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the size of the Swedish online gaming market.
This growth, coupled with the state-owned monopoly of the market and outdated legislation, has led to a significantly sized grey market.
For example, in 2016, Sweden’s overall domestic regulated market saw a growth of 3% on the previous year’s figures, whereas international online gambling sites that service Sweden (but are not licensed) saw an estimated increase of 16% in their Swedish market.
Put simply: people were spending more of their money on non-Swedish, non-stated-owned online gambling sites than they were at the Swedish ones.
The new legislation will allow the Swedish government to either turn this grey market black or give casinos the chance to get a Swedish Licence.
The government will, therefore, be able to penalise companies who try to operate without a license, and they’ll be able to receive a significant tax-revenue form those companies who want to continue operating in the bountiful Swedish market after January 1st.
In addition to shrinking the size of the grey market, the reason for the change is to ensure greater customer protection.
Players will be ensured new protection from these regulated casinos, which have to follow the Swedish government’s guidelines.
Players who already gamble regularly and players who only dabble won’t see too many of the changes upfront. Many of the enforced regulations change how the casinos should operate, advertise and how much tax they should pay (roughly 18%).
However, players will see certain things upfront. For example: for all online casino play, the new regulations require players to set deposit limits before they start.
In addition to this, casinos cannot offer their players credit (to be paid back at a later date), and bonus offers must be limited to first-time players only.
Other changes players will notice are three responsible gambling logos that all regulated online casinos must display on their Swedish sites.
These logos must also contain links to information that will allow customers to track their gambling history and register with the new Swedish gambling exclusion program.
Over the last year, the Lotteriinspektionen have been issuing new licenses to casinos ready for the change. This means many of the casinos that you currently may enjoy playing at will already have licenses within Sweden.
As it’s now crunch time, it comes as no surprise that many licenses have been given out in the last month – bringing the total amount to 60.
If you’re wondering which newly regulated casinos are the best, take a peek at our list below to see some of the best out there:
Casumo are a large online betting outfit with a significant number of video slots, table games, Live Casino and more. Our readers will be pleased to know that they feature many of the NetEnt titles.
Another very large betting company, who currently have somewhere around 7% of the Swedish online casino market. Mr. Green are a well operated and trustworthy casino, offering players good welcome bonuses and customer support.
Casino Joy is one of our readers’ favourite casinos, mostly down to the fact of the massive number of games they have: 1,300! In addition to this, Casino Joy are trying to cast of perceptions about playing at online casinos, they’re trying to appeal to a fun and youthful market familiar with a variety of different games.
With their unique adventure-casino and proven ability to meet the tough regulations of the UK, it comes as no surprise that Casino Heroes has secured a new Swedish License.