Sweden is one of the most progressed countries in the world and ranks among the top 10 in GDP. Its progressive economy has allowed social activities such as gambling to take a considerable root in the citizens’ day to day life. The Swedish government has put into place sufficient laws to cover offline gambling, online gambling, and the regulations required for gambling companies. These regulations are extensive and have clear guidelines for those who would like to participate in games of chance.
Types of Legal and Illegal Gambling
Most of the gambling types in Sweden are legal. This includes lotteries, betting, and Casino-based games. The gambling market in Sweden is monopolized by Svenska Spel, a government parastatal meaning that it is wholly owned by the government. The Swedish laws permit private companies to apply for licenses to carry out gambling within Sweden but such operating licenses are rarely granted. Due to this, Sweden has come under pressure from the European Union which is keen to challenge the status quo. From the indications so far, soon Sweden will relax its gambling rules and grant more licenses to more private gambling companies to carry out gaming activities within its jurisdiction.
Gambling in Sweden is only illegal if the entity conducting the gambling undertaking is not licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority. Foreign companies are also not allowed to advertise their services in Sweden. These laws act as a barrier for foreign companies to get a substantial customer base in Sweden.
Stance on Offline Gambling
Due to the monopolistic tendencies of the gambling licensing practice, Sweden does not have many offline gambling facilities. The mainland-based Casinos are found in Sundsvall, Malmo, and Gothenburg. The fourth Casino is based in the Country’s capital, Stockholm which enjoys quite a good flow of customers. These four casinos are run by Svenska Spel which is wholly owned by the government. This implies that all the revenue made by this parastatal go back to the government.
Svenska Spel also runs other offline gambling activities such as lottery games and sports betting. Horse racing games are run by Trav och Gallop, which is also licensed to carry out offline gaming activities. Apart from Trav och Gallop and Svenska Spel, any other entity running public gaming facilities is termed to have contravened the law and legal actions can be taken against such entities. With pressure mounting from the European Union, Sweden will gradually relax some of these laws to allow more companies to carry out land-based gaming business within its jurisdiction.
Stance on Online Gambling
Unlike offline games, regulations controlling online gaming are more relaxed. This is because of the intricacies involved in achieving proper control of online gaming. Swedish citizens are permitted to participate in online casino games whose websites reside within or outside the Sweden jurisdiction.
It is, however, illegal for a Swedish based company to run online casinos without the prior licensing by the Swedish Gaming Authority. For international companies, Swedish residents are allowed to participate in such gambling activities since such an international company does not fall under the autonomous control of the Swedish regulations but under the laws of the country where it has been duly registered.
Stance on Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Gambling
Sweden has undertaken an ambitious project and has developed its own national cryptocurrency, the e-Krona. This undertaking is a strong indicator that Sweden is pro-cryptocurrency. Since cryptocurrency gambling falls under online gambling, it is clear that Sweden does not prohibit the use of Cryptocurrencies in gaming. However, the cryptocurrency gambling is subject to the usual laws and regulations which govern gambling in Sweden.
Regulatory Authorities and Important Laws
- Swedish Gambling Authority: This authority was established by lotteries Act in order to oversee all gaming activities in Sweden. It licenses companies which would wish to participate in gambling and also sees to it that no illegal gambling takes place in the country.
- Swedish Lotteries Act: This act covers all forms of games of chance in Sweden. The scope of the regulations extends to online gambling and even international gambling. This law also sets the minimum age of the players who would wish to participate in gambling activities. For offline games, the minimum age is 20 years while for the online games, the minimum age is set at 18 years.
- Swedish Casino Act: This law gives specific considerations to companies who do not carry gambling as their core business. These include hotels, restaurants, and bars. These businesses are allowed to have casino machines on condition that they will not make such as their main income undertaking.
Sweden has a great market for those entities which would like to carry out gambling businesses within its territory. Since the Swedish Gambling authority is stricter on licensing offline gambling companies, it would be prudent to offer offshore online gambling since they have fewer restrictions.