Swedish Gambling Review Recommendations Submitted (Update)

18 month enquiry recommends the end of the monopoly system and an 18 percent online gambling tax based on GGR

Lotteriinspektionen director general Håkan Hallstedt, who led an 18-month review of Swedish gambling, has delivered to government the task force’s conclusions and recommendations, in general confirming earlier Reuters insider reports published this week (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Important recommendations from the panel include a proposal that Svenska Spel’s current monopoly over online gambling should be discontinued and replaced with a more liberal licensing system, effectively opening up the market and introducing a more competitive environment.

Such a move would appease the European Commission, which has been urging Sweden to abandon its monopolistic policies.

Another key recommendation is that licensed operators be taxed at 18 percent of GGR – somewhat higher than the European norm of around 15 percent, but lower than neighbouring jurisdiction Denmark, which claims 20 percent of GGR for the taxman.

Supporting a reformed industry, the panel recommends a tough and punitive enforcement policy against unlicensed operators in order to protect those who have achieved Swedish licensing under a new dispensation.

In delivering the report, Hallstedt said that the new regulatory framework should encompass all gambling services in land-based casino, lottery, gambling cruise ships, sports betting and iGaming sectors, with an effective target date of January 1 2019.

Industry reports have long suggested that the Swedish government is anxious to bring onshore (and tax) major online gambling companies like Betsson and Kindred-Unibet originating in Sweden but forced by the current system to operate from jurisdictions like Malta

Kindred has already released a statement welcoming the recommendations and urging government to implement same as soon as practicable.

Once the government has considered the report and recommendations, a bill will be introduced to parliament – probably around autumn 2018.