Reviews of the Swedish gambling regulation have been considered several times over the past decade, but have historically not led to any real changes.
However, a government-appointed committee with the explicit assignment to lay forward a proposal for a new gambling regulation submitted its report in March 2017. The report has since been circulated for formal consultation and a bill proposing the new gambling regulation was presented in April 2018.
Opening of the market for new operators
The bill proposes, inter alia, a division of the gambling market into two sectors: one competitive sector where licenses can be applied by all operators and one restricted. The competitive sector would include online casinos, betting, poker and bingo, as well as land-based sports and horse-racing betting, while the sectors of gaming machines, land-based casinos and bingo, as well as online and land-based lotteries, will continue to be reserved for government-controlled companies and non-profit organizations.
Marketing of gambling – chance based promotions no longer banned
In order to maintain the new gambling regulation, the bill contains a strengthening of both the regulation regarding advertising of licensed gambling, which shall among other things be moderate and not be directed to people under the age of 18, as well as sanctions against providing and promoting unlicensed gambling companies, including more severe penal provisions and raised fines compared to the current legislation.
An important a practical change is that sweepstakes or other games of chance without a stake (e.g. no purchase necessary to enter or win) will not require a license under the new legislation. This means that the current ban to organize games of chance within Sweden and to promote of participation in games of chance organized from abroad for marketing purposes will be lifted.
The new legislation is proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2019, while licences can be applied for starting on 1 August 2018. The bill has, at the time of writing, not yet been voted on by the Swedish parliament, but seeing as there is a broad political support for a re-regulated gambling market, there is a strong likelihood that a licence-based gambling market will be introduced in Sweden on 1 January 2019.
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