Despite the ongoing political instability in the country, the Swedish Parliament is preparing to implement a new set of gambling reforms. More of an update to the current system rather than a total overhaul, the new rules introduce new B2B supplier licenses and additional measures against unlicensed operators. The rules regarding gambling advertisements and slot machines on ferries between Sweden and Finland remained unchanged.
Suppliers will have four months to obtain a license
The most significant change in Sweden’s new proposed gambling reform is the introduction of licenses for providers of online gambling. Spelinspektionen, the country’s gambling regulator, announced that it will hold a meeting with companies affected by the change on December 7. Participants will receive detailed information about the transition, which should be completed by July 1, 2023.
Suppliers will apply for one of the first 70 licenses issued to companies already operating in Sweden’s regulated market. The approval process starts on March 1, 2023, giving applicants roughly four months before the deadline. The government decided on an application fee of SEK 120,000 ($11,500), which is roughly on par with other legislation.
Several proposed updates failed
Other notable changes concern increased scrutiny against unlicensed gambling. The new measures aim to exclude unregulated operators from the Swedish market by extending the ban on unlicensed and illegal gaming marketing.
The changes aim to ensure strong consumer protection and a long-term sustainable gambling market.
The Swedish Gaming Authority’s statement
A few proposed measures did not make it into the new legislation. Sweden’s and Finland’s agreement on the regulation of gaming machines on board international ferries remained unchanged. The government assessed that the current arrangement worked well and that any disruptions would negatively affect operators, passengers and shipping companies.
Another proposed reform that failed was a bill for stricter moderation of the more harmful types of gambling and a complete ban on high-risk daytime gambling advertising. The committee ultimately rejected the proposed amendments due to the very ambiguous wording of the text. Such a ban, if implemented, would also negatively impact media revenues without offering any proven benefits. The government stated that it was too early to discuss marketing reforms, as the current rules were still in place.
Sweden has strict and effective rules
Sweden’s new government should soon hold a vote on this final version of the gambling reforms. The Swedish Gaming Authority expects the process to be completed without incident, as evidenced by the ongoing preparations to implement the new B2B supplier licenses. Although they may take until July to implement, the minor changes are likely to take effect from early 2023.
Overall, Sweden’s new set of reforms aims to refine existing regulations without introducing too many disruptions. The country’s gambling regulations are among the strictest in Europe and the Gambling Authority is more than willing to enforce them. Gaming operator ATG was recently fined just over SEK 6 million (USD 570,000) for negligence procedures against money launderingwhile SG International received directly prohibited for operation without a license. These cases prove that Sweden’s gambling market remains safe and sustainable.