A couple of months ago, the Swedish government introduced a new gambling law and a licensing system. The bill ‘A regulated gambling market’ was adopted and it will affect online casinos in several ways. Online gambling is now fully legal and regulated. This gives foreign companies the opportunity to enter the Swedish gambling market in 2019. The new gambling law is the result of a decade long discussion in Swedish politics. What benefits does a regulated market have?
For many years, gambling in Sweden has been unregulated. Big problems like criminal activities and gambling addictions weren’t solved. The government also didn’t test if (online) casinos offered fair play. This was only the responsibility of countries such as Curacao, Malta and England. Only these authorities had a licensing system. Suppliers needed to obtain a license to enter the Swedish gambling market. However, things have changed for the better. With the introduction of the new law, Sweden now regains control of its own gambling market.
Authorized license required
Every company that wants to be active on the Swedish gambling market must have an authorized license. If that’s not the case, the unlicensed operator is excluded. This is done to protect consumers from the negative effects of gambling, such as fraud and addiction. The government also introduced a new crime called ‘gambling fraud’ and a special council has been created to fight against match fixing.
Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi told the press that more and sharper tools will strengthen the Swedish gambling authority. For example, unlicensed operators will be excluded to the market and licensees are now required to carry out their activities in accordance with the law. The Swedish Public Administration Agency has gotten instructions from the government to follow up on the reform, so that changes to the law will be implemented quickly if the reform’s requirements are not met. ‘It is now time for us to move from words to deeds’ said Shekarabi.
Tax rate on licensed gambling
There’s going be a tax of 18 percent on licensed gambling. According to rate experts, this is the perfect percentage. When a player wins money on an unlicensed website, his or her profits are taxed as well. There are no taxes for non-profit gambling by the way. To keep the overview, Swedish gambling market will be divided into several sectors:
• A competitive sector: mainly online gambling and betting.
• Central government: mainly state-owned casino and token machines
• Non-profit organizations: mainly lotteries and bingo’s
Other countries have been taken steps against unlicensed gambling companies as well, but the Netherlands is not one of them. It should look at Sweden to see how it’s done. However, Dutch politicians are delaying a new law again and don’t take any responsibility at all. A Dutch gambling law has been pending in the Dutch Senate for over a year. The government in the Hague continues to postpone the law, which is a shame. The question is whether the law will have the same positive effects as it does in Sweden. The Dutch government is planning to use a much higher tax percentage on gambling revenues, about 29 percent. The could be counterproductive because gambling providers might find the license too expensive. As a result, they continue to operate illegally.
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