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What Does Sweden's Casino Licensing Shake Up Mean?

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As from the 1th of January this year, Sweden will see a completely new gambling landscape. A historic policy shift towards casinos and gambling in general. The state gambling monopoly is lifted, and the market has been opened up, and both established and new companies now need a gambling license in order to be active on the Swedish market.

But what exactly does the change mean for the casino operators, for the players. Let's dig deeper.

Looking at the details of the Swedish gambling reforms

The most important policy change regards the abolition of a long-standing government monopoly on gambling. For decades, the government has run and regulated all betting. But as of January 1st 2019, that has changed.

Now, Sweden have a licensing system for online casinos and other gambling businesses. When they are approved for a license, companies can start accepting cash for bets - so much of the work at the moment is based around making applications.

In the middle of January, the state had approved around 60 gambling licenses, with more in the pipeline. But the process has not been rushed, and companies have to pass through strict filters before a license can be awarded.

How do companies become approved for a Swedish gambling license?

To obtain a license, online casinos need to submit an application to a body called Spelinspektionen (the Swedish Gambling Authority).

The application forms can be found online, but they are all in Swedish, so foreign companies have tended to bring in local expertise to ensure their applications are valid.

Each application also requires payment of a modest processing fee, and the process entails an assessment of whether potential operators have the moral background and knowledge to fit into Sweden's gambling system.

Despite this, the success rate of applicants has been high, and few difficulties or delays have been reported.

What happens when a casino license is granted in Sweden?

However, being granted a license isn't the end of the story. A casino with Swedish gambling license granted by Spelinspektionen must abide by certain rules if it is to retain the ability to operate.

These obligations include protecting players from gambling excessively, limiting bonuses to sign-ups only, and meeting Sweden's strict rules to prevent gambling problem. Online casinos need to fulfil a long list, on how to act on gambling related problem amongst the players. If they can’t fulfil the demands, a fine is the award, even losing their license could be the effect of not living up to the new law.

Additionally, online casinos are subject to a tax of 18% on all profits, and it's likely that the scope for TV or video advertising will be limited. The Swedish authorities are clearly keen to keep the industry within tight restrictions, fearing the uncontrolled growth of gambling.

Swedish online casinos with a gambling license

2019 will be an interesting year for Europe's gambling sector. At last, a major Scandinavian market (and home to many innovative online slot makers) has deregulated its sector. While both countries have committed to their traditionally restricted systems, this could potentially pave the way for similar processes in Finland, Norway and other European countries as well.

So far, giants like Betfair and 888 Casino have been granted a gambling license, along with Swedish casino brands like Dreamz who got a Swedish casino license the 1th of January. When speaking to them, they had a positive view of it all:

A greater focus on responsible gambling with a National self-exclusion register (spelpaus.se), requirements for clearer terms and condition - what's not to like about it? And in addition, 18% in tax that will go back to Sweden where many of us at Dreamz.com have our roots.

Follow the link to learn more on their view on the re-regulation as a casino operator.

Svenska Spel, the company that earlier had state monopoly was granted a gambling license as well, and now for the first time will offer a casino for Swedish player, even though they have been against it for years.

With local knowledge mattering in Sweden, this could be a fascinating battle of market shares in a whole new online casino landscape.

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