Swedish Gambling Reforms Pass European Commission Approval Process

Liberating legislation remains on track for implementation by early January 2019

Sweden‘s gambling market reforms are on-track for implementation on January 1 2019 following the end this week of the three-month statutory standstill period set aside for review of the legislation by the European Commission and EU member states.

No detailed opinions were received against the draft proposal during the window for member states to comment on whether the draft would create unfair barriers to free movement of goods and services in violation of EU treaties.

The draft legislation appears to divide the market into three parts:

  • An open and competitive section that will interest mainly online operators;
  • A sector for “gambling for purposes in the public interest” such as lotteries and land-based bingo; and
  • A third sector that is reserved exclusively for the Swedish government – mainly land-based casinos and slots.

The legislation proposes comprehensive measures to guard against underage and problem gambling (including player tracking and self-exclusion facilities), consumer protection, enforcement of licensing that includes participation by ISPs, and bonus and incentive limitations.