Many players in the country of Sweden partake in online poker, but the casino game has been under the control of a state monopoly for quite some time. However, the new Swedish legislation passed in June of 2018 will see the monopoly become a thing of the past. Once the bill goes into effects, Swedish players can access online casinos on an international scale. The change will also be a considerable opportunity for privatized companies looking to get a foot in the door. This new gambling law will officially start on January 1st of the new year.
A lot of countries in the region of Scandinavia have held out on allowing private online casinos take part in the economy. For example, Norway operates a monopoly through its government agency and has refused to update its laws. As Sweden ends the firm grip on its gambling industry, others may follow suit and for good reason.
Sweden was already criticized in 2013 for how it had previously handled its affairs regarding online poker and gambling. As a member of the European Union, the country was in violation of numerous laws regarding compliance. More specifically, the EU requires compliance from member countries in allowing offshore gambling operators to have a shot at obtaining a license.
Officials in Sweden took a long time in drafting and completing legislation that puts the nation in compliance, but that time has finally arrived. In the meantime, the country’s state agency, Svenska Spel, will continue to oversee online poker and other gambling operations until the new year arrives. Residents of Sweden will be allowed to access online casinos and other gaming content provided by foreign competitors.
Though it has technically been a monopoly, authorities in Sweden admit that the power of the internet prevents effective enforcement of the model. Players throughout the country already use offshore casinos online for playing poker, and Sweden loses any potential revenue as a result. Bringing in the new regulated model will allow the country AND private online casinos to benefit.
Operators in Sweden who manage to obtain a license will be looking at an 18-percent tax. Svenska Spel will not be subject to the same tax. The hopes are that the state gaming agency will still be able to remain competitive in a market that will soon be occupied by quality online casinos. The legislation also allows the Swedish Gaming Authority to have new powers related to regulating licensed online poker and banning sites without a license.
Sweden will now join the ranks of what has been a prosperous regulated casino industry in Europe. Online poker has been growing in popularity among players in France, Spain, and Portugal. The countries started working in unison to create larger player pools and attract more attention to the markets. This move leads to bigger tournaments and more prizes for players at online casinos who wish to compete in poker events.
While some of the biggest names such as 888 and PokerStars already have a presence in the region, players can expect to see more options emerge for Sweden and elsewhere.