Sweden is Revving Regulation Legislation for 2018

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In a jurisdiction much maligned for being the largest monopoly of its kind, the Swedish government has drafted a full version of an open gambling regulation model.

Last Remnants

The only vestiges left of the monopoly will be certain forms of land-based gambling, with state-controlled operators exclusively in control of land-based casinos, major lotteries and gaming machines outside casinos.

Online Market Open

However, online sports betting, casino, bingo and digital products including but not limited to virtual sports will be available to all qualified applicants.

Standards for Licensure

Licenses will be granted upon the basis of effective demonstration of high standardised levels of consumer protection, game integrity, and problem gambling support.

Timeline

The Swedish government has expressed a desire to have the new regime in place by 2019, with license application submissions beginning in July.

Ministry Speaks

Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi called the legislation a measure to “regain control of the Swedish gambling market,” in an environment where Lotteriinspektionen gaming regulatory body research shows internationally licensed online operators serving one-quarter of Sweden’s overall gambling market.

Channelling

The licenses will be valid for five-year periods, and require a flat 18% tax on gaming revenue, the rate set by data from a sample group of Swedish-facing online operators, with the express goal of moving Swedish players to licensed operators.

Server Requirements

Servers must be based in Sweden, with exceptions for operators in possession of licenses jurisdictions acceptable to Sweden on a one-on-one basis, with non-EEA applicants required to attain representation in Sweden. 

 

Consumer Protection

The goals of legislation are two-fold. The first is customer protection: each player will be individually called upon to set deposit limits, with operators prohibited from offering credit to players and promotional bonus offers available only to first-time customers. 

The minimum age for general play will be 18, and land-based casinos permitting entry only to those aged 20 or above.

Protection Compliance Penalties

Penalties for failure to comply range widely from SEK 5k to as much as 10% of their annual turnover.

Enforcement

The second target of legislation is unauthorized legislators. Lotteriinspektionen will compel internet service providers to impose the scarlet letter on unauthorized gambling domains, and will further require all financial institutions to block payments to and from said sites.

Unauthorized Service Penalties

Penalties for unlicensed offers or promotions of unlicensed services may range from fines to prison sentences, with length ranging from six months to six years based on intention and severity.

Areas Needing Work

Rough spots appear to be the prison sentences, and development of a transparent system of protection of minors.

Outlook 

Beyond that, the draft represents quite an impressive turnabout in a market which was still being criticized as a Draconian monopoly model mere months ago. Now, Sweden appears ready to assume a true leadership role. 

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