The gambling market continues to grow. Players are discovering the many advantages of online casinos for themselves. The countries have recognised the trend and can no longer prohibit gambling on the internet. Of course, they also want to earn money from the sums that are gambled with. However, a country can only levy taxes on the revenues if an online casino is also licensed.
Sweden has a long gambling tradition. The relationship with gambling has always been very complicated. For a long time it was illegal and even today there are still many restrictions. In Sweden the market is now regulated. Online casinos are officially recognised and licensed. Of course, they have to meet strict requirements for this. However, providers without a Swedish licence are not allowed.
In this guide, we want to give you an overview of the most important rules for gambling in Sweden. Since each country has its own regulations, this guide is intended to help you. After all, you don’t want to do anything wrong when gambling on the internet.
History of gambling in Sweden
For a long time, gambling was forbidden in Sweden. It wasn’t until 1994 that Swedes were allowed to go to real local casinos and try their luck. Online casinos had to be patient even longer. Only since 2002 has it been legal to gamble on the internet at all. It is important to know that gambling was a state monopoly for a long time. Sweden controlled the market by monopolising it. Only pressure from the European Commission led to other companies being allowed in.
Since January 2019, foreign providers have also been allowed to be licensed in Sweden. Only then is offering games of luck legal. Sweden’s own gambling companies Trav och Galopp and Svenska Spel were already allowed to set up an online offer in 2002. However, this was only intended for Sweden and not for other countries. Today, the regulated market has licensed several foreign online casinos. With the licence, one can also assume seriousness at the same time.
Amendment of the Gaming Act
The road to changing the law was difficult and above all long. First proposals were rejected by the European Commission. They considered the new rules to be incompatible with EU law. Yet Sweden fought for its proposal all the way to the European Court of Justice. This also has to do with the monopoly position. For years, no one could enter the market. The state was the only one who could offer gambling. It is often said that a monopoly is good because player protection is paramount. But it also has an economic background for the state.
In any case, it was not until 2014 that further work was done on a draft. At the end of 2017, the new draft was then passed on to the European Commission. In the meantime, the Swedes have tried to adapt the new rules to current EU law. Already in 2018, foreign casinos could apply for a licence. In January 2019, the new gambling law was then introduced and has been applied since then.
The law allows the Swedish government to retain control over the market. At the same moment, however, foreign operators can apply for a licence. The Swedish Gambling Authority opens the market and regulates it at the same time. They allow an online casino and issue the licence, which is valid for 5 years. The requirements of the authority must be fulfilled and taxes be paid. After this period, a new application must be submitted. Then the licence for the Swedish market can be granted again.
All operators who do not comply with the requirements must expect heavy penalties. Operators without a valid licence not only expect a heavy fine. They can also go to jail for up to 2 years for illegal gambling. This shows how vigorously control over the market is enforced. Illegal providers are often a problem for each individual player as well. Therefore, one can understand the procedure. You should make sure that you only play at licensed casinos.
The new Swedish gambling law
The new gambling law was primarily designed for the safety of Swedish players. It is intended to increase player protection. Consumer protection and market loyalty are the top priorities. Especially on the internet, customer safety is an important issue. You have to give personal data in online casinos and they should be safe. Therefore, foreign providers must also be licensed and meet all requirements.
The law is not only about online providers, but also affects real casinos. For example, the age limit has been changed. On the internet, you are allowed to play from the age of 18. In a land-based casino, on the other hand, you can only play at the age of 21.
Players must be of legal age, but bets may not be placed on minors either. The Spelinspektionen authority strictly controls the bets offered. If a provider allows betting with underage athletes, he faces heavy penalties. Although this restricts the offer, it is intended to protect young people in particular. In this case, the protection of minors applies not only to gambling or betting, but to all participants.
The law introduced a self-exclusion register. If you notice problematic gambling behaviour in yourself, you can register here. All casinos are obliged to compare your data with this register. This means you cannot register with another provider without further ado. Especially in a weak moment, it could otherwise happen that you want to gamble again. After only one month, 10,000 Swedes have registered in the database. Any online casino that makes an offer to these players must expect heavy penalties.
Since the law only came into force in 2019, there have been no adjustments yet. The law has been approved by the European Commission in its current version. This means that it complies with EU requirements and can continue to be implemented.
Due to the Corona pandemic, there was a temporary tightening of the law in 2020. The new rules were only intended to temporarily protect players during exceptional situations.
- The playing time was limited for each player on a daily basis.
- The deposit limit per week was set at 5000 SEK.
- There could be no bonuses over 100 SEK.
Changes for your gambling
Some of the changes in the law have a direct impact on you and your gaming behaviour. Especially if you are used to playing according to a certain strategy. Many players have been particularly annoyed about the bonuses. It is now normal that you can get a bonus from the bonus offers. You have free credit to play with. In addition, free spins are great fun to test new games. The gambling law stipulates that you only get one bonus. This generally means only one bonus per casino. This means that if you accept a welcome bonus, no further offers may follow. Usually there are always new bonuses for loyal customers. The casino has lower expenses, but you don’t get any more free credit.
However, it gets even more complicated. Because you are only allowed to receive one bonus from one operator. It includes if a company operates several online casinos, you are only allowed to take advantage of one offer. You may register with other providers. Here you can also accept another bonus. But switching between casinos must not happen too often.
In the course of this, it is only positive that all existing customers are considered new customers. After the law came into force, everyone was allowed to get another bonus. Otherwise, many players would have gone completely empty-handed. But again, you have to check who the operator is. If you are at different casino brands of one operator, you will only get one bonus. At least you will receive less advertising in the future. The mails announcing special promotions will no longer be sent.
The new regulation also prohibits gamification. Bonus points or the growing status are no longer valid. Social online casinos are particularly affected by this. In them, you get rewards and items for reaching goals. Normally, you can then exchange these points for bonus credits or free spins. This no longer exists in Sweden. This is a motivation to gamble more often according to the lawmakers. This is prevented and should not encourage customers to play more.
Taxes on Casino Winnings
The foreign casinos that have a licence for the Swedish market must also pay their own taxes there. They pay 18% of the annual gross revenue to the Swedish state. Nevertheless, the savings on marketing campaigns and bonuses should make it worthwhile for many.
If you win, things get interesting. Because it depends on whether you played at a Swedish casino or a foreign one. If you played at a Swedish provider and won, the winnings are tax-free. You can dispose of the entire sum and do not have to deduct any taxes. However, if you play at another provider, you will pay taxes. You have to pay a total of 30% of your winnings. You can imagine that the politicians are trying to strengthen the domestic gambling industry. But where you play should not be influenced by tax payments. You should have fun and feel comfortable on a platform.
Legal gambling in Sweden
Gambling is legal in Sweden. Since the new gambling law, foreign casinos are also allowed to offer their games. You should always make sure that they have a licence. Then they are permitted by the Swedish Gambling Authority. They have to meet strict requirements in order to be on the Swedish market. By the way, you have nothing to fear legally if you play at an unlicensed casino. Authorities are strict about this and can give the provider heavy fines. If they withdraw from Sweden as a result, there could be consequences for your credit. Therefore, always take the Swedish licence as a precaution.
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