On 1st January 2019, a new Swedish Gambling ACT -2018:1138- was enforced affecting all the gambling operators including online casinos. Only those operators that meet the criteria set out by the Swedish Gambling Operators can apply and be granted licenses.
The license permits them to offer online gambling to Swedish punters. Every operator is now expected to update their establishment to fall in line with the new laws. About 70% of the Swedish population gambles each year explaining the need for regulations change in the country.
The new law opened up the Swedish gambling industry to international online casinos. Previously only two monopolies operated in the country (ATG and Svenska Spel). Many other online casinos had to operate with international licenses from jurisdictions such as Malta (MGA). With the new regulations coming into effect, more than 60 companies have obtained licenses from the SGA. A major portion of these issued licenses are for online operations increasing the number of online casinos exponentially.
Facts and Figures of Swedish Gambling Industry
Accepting more outside companies and issuing them with licenses has changed the Swedish gambling industry. There are more legally operating online casinos and many more punters as a result.
- The total gambling industry stake SEK 48066 million
- Current Gross Gaming Revenue in Sweden SEK 17221 million
- Total Gross Gaming Revenue per Inhabitant SEK 1704
- The turnover total for each inhabitant SEK 4757
- Each inhabitant over 18 years turnover SEK 6005
- Gross gaming revenue for each inhabitant over 18 years SEK 2151
- Turnover percentage of disposable income 2.18%
- Gross gaming revenue percentage of disposable income 0.78%
Gambling Act (2018:1138) Overview
The new act affects all forms of gambling in Sweden that have money prizes or those with monetary value. All online casinos that direct their platforms to the Swedish market fall into this category. Those that don’t are excluded. Not only does the new act affect Sweden as a country, but any Swedish vessel or aircraft anywhere in the world.
There are set requirements every operator intending to target the Swedish market needs to adhere to. Every online casino needs to conduct its operation in a sound manner from a public perspective. Each punter needs to feel safe and secure once they log in and start gambling. Consumer protection is mandatory and must be assured by all companies in Sweden. Gambling aspects that are negative need to be curbed and no criminal activity is permitted.
There are some aspects of gambling not permitted to licensed operators. They are the reserve of the Swedish government in regard to the interests of the public. Still, every company needs an official license to run their operation in the country. Agents under these gambling companies don’t need additional licensing if their services are under a licensed holder.
Only experienced and knowledgeable operators of online casinos and other gambling establishments shall get licensed. They need to prove extensive experience and necessary organization to provide the best platforms for Swedish punters. The SGA shall conduct a thorough assessment of each to determine their capabilities to meet set standards and regulations. Not all are granted licenses especially if they are under 18 years, bankrupt, have failed significantly in business before or have a criminal record.
Each operation that is located in another country outside of the EEA (European Economic Area) needs a physical representative in Sweden. The representative needs to be above the age of 18 and not gone through bankruptcy. It’s the obligation of the representative to represent the company in all matters concerning their licensing in the country.
The SGA is mandated to handle all matters concerning licensing of any and every online casino in Sweden. They are obligated to define what the license covers and to which extent. Each license is provided for a specified period as determined by the SGA which is mainly 5 years. Some licenses can have attached conditions on the conduct expected from each holder.
Online casinos get a license that permits online gambling for commercial purposes. It covers the provision of online bingo, casino games, and gambling machines that are computer-simulated. The number of licensed gambling companies in Sweden as of 2nd April 2019 was 69.
Only those who want to participate in gambling can be registered by license holders on their platforms. Players need to provide a permanent address or have a residency in Sweden. The residency must be long-term to be permitted onto online gambling sites. Each punter has to fill out certain important information like their name, national registration number, and permanent address among others.
Each internet casino licensed to operate in Sweden ha to verify the identity of each player that registers online. Electronic verification is accepted. Only those players whose identity has been verified are permitted to commence playing on the website on an online casino. Still, identity can be proven when the player requests their first payout.
Every player that registers on an online casino must get an individual account opened by the company. Their identification needs to be verified once they log in to access the registered account. The license holder needs to register all financial transactions the player takes part in on the platform. The player must be able to access their account details at all times without any limitation.
For the next 12 months after registering an account, each player should be able to access their accounts history. This includes all the transactions made for deposit and withdrawal in a span of a year. Their gambling history must be availed as well. Players can be granted a temporary account to gamble whilst their identity is being proven by the online casino. Every player on the self-exclusion registry shall not get a temporary account opened for them.
In case a player provides false or incorrect information while registering, their temporary account is closed immediately. The same goes if the player fails to provide additional information requested by the online casino. Their account is closed after the period given elapses without any communication from the player. Proving each player’s identity must be a top priority for each licensed online casino in Sweden. No player with a temporary account can access withdrawn winnings.
Online casinos can only operate with payment services permitted in Sweden. This is in accordance with the Payment Services Act (2010:751). It’s the only way they can receive deposits from registered punters. There is no transfer of money or tokens among players permitted on any of these licensed casinos. All online casinos should keep player funds and their operating money separate at all times.
It’s the mandate of each license holder to inform players, once they deposit money, how their funds are protected. Online casinos must pay players who close accounts as soon as possible. No amount in the account is deducted. If the online casino closes a player’s account, they should inform them in writing of the reasons. No player is charged to close an account.
The newly enacted law that was enforced starting 1st January 2019 opened up the Swedish gambling industry. Previously it operated as a monopoly with many online casinos running illegally. Now with the new regulations, they have a chance to go legit. There are set requirements that each applicant must meet to get an official license. Once they become a licensed online casino, they must adhere to all set rules and regulations. It’s the mandate of the SGA to assess all applicants and grant licenses to those that pass.