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Legislation

Sweden – Swedish online market to be taxed at 18 per cent

By - 26 January 2018

New details have emerged concerning how the new online gaming laws will look in Sweden.

The Swedish government presented proposed legislation to the European Commission late last year with the EU authorities taking three months to review it which will be completed on March 20, 2018.

Mark Knighton, Founder and CEO of Gothenburg-based business consultant Obsidian Consultancy, highlighted the key detaisl that have emerged. “Online gambling and land-based betting license will be valid for a five year period. Bonuses will only be allowed “the first time the player uses an operator’s products,” he said. “This is contrary to the proposal in the original report which also allowed retention bonuses but with restrictions. Payment providers could be ordered by a court to block payments from unlicensed gambling operators on the instruction of the Swedish Gambling Authority.

“The Swedish Gambling Authority may request an ISP provider to display a warning message to inform players that the website is not licensed in Sweden,” he added. “The tax has been proposed at 18 per cent of GGR. It will be mandatory for players to set deposit limits. Licensees will have to take the measures necessary to prevent and reduce problem gambling. State-owned Svenska Spel will be divided into two separate companies but with a joint holding company. One of the companies will be able to compete with other online operators and one that will remain the sole operator of lotteries. Horserace betting operator ATG will remain under state-control until a solution to ensure the continued funding of the horse industry is found.”

Unlicensed operators generated revenue of SEK4.045bn during the period in question, while Sweden’s whole gambling market was worth SEK16.557bn.

Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi said:”The central government will regain control of the Swedish gambling market. We are now proposing legislation entailing that operators receiving a licence to conduct activities targeting Swedish consumers must comply with Swedish rules. This will also give us the tools to keep those without a licence out. The new gambling regulations will be designed as a licence system, in which all operators providing gambling services in the Swedish market must have a licence. Operators without a licence will not be allowed to provide gambling services.”

There will also be a tightening on the penalties given out for unlawful gambling activities and promoting unlawful gambling with a new criminal classification, gambling fraud, being introduced to address match fixing.

“Gambling activities must be conducted in a sound and safe way, subject to public supervision. This means gambling services must have a high level of consumer protection and safety, and that gambling services are not used to support criminal activities. Match fixing has no place in Swedish sport and must be stopped,” said Mr Shekarabi.

It is proposed that the new regulations enter into force on 1 January 2019. Licence applications can be submitted from July 2018.

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