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Sweden: Proposal for the introduction of a licensing system

Today, the investigator appointed by the Swedish Government, Mr. Håkan Hallstedt, handed over his proposal (1,340 pages) for the introduction of a Swedish licensing system to the Swedish Minister for Public Administration, Mr. Ardalan Shekarabi.

We have not yet been able to perform an in-depth analysis of the proposal. However, in essence, the investigator proposes a partial abolishment of the Swedish gambling monopoly with the following key elements:

  • The introduction of a framework legislation governing all gambling;
  • The Swedish government will no longer be able to grant gambling licenses. Instead, the Swedish Gambling Authority will be solely responsible for granting gambling licenses;
  • Private commercial entities, state-owned Svenska Spel and the Swedish Horse Racing Totalisator Board (ATG) will be able to obtain Licenses for online casinos, betting, poker and bingo, as well as land-based horse betting and sports betting;
  • State-owned Svenska Spel will retain the monopoly in relation to gambling terminals and land-based casinos;
  • State-owned Svenska Spel and the non-profit sector will retain the exclusive right to organize lotteries and non-profit sector lotteries will be exempt from taxes;
  • Licenses will be required for anyone developing, providing, installing or amending gaming software for online gambling;
  • Licenses will be required for the manufacturing, importation or possession of gambling terminals;
  • For online casinos, online betting, online poker, online bingo, land-based horse betting and land-based sports betting, there is no proposed ceiling on payout percentages;
  • For online and land-based lotteries, the maximum payout percentage will be limited to fifty percent;
  • Proposed tax rate of 18 percent for operators calculated on the surplus generated after winnings have been paid out;
  • Licensing fees ranging between SEK 60,000 – 700,000 and annual supervisory fees between SEK 30,000 – SEK 1,000,000;
  • Stricter sanctions for operation of unlicensed gambling services, including penalties ranging between SEK 5,000 – SEK 50,000,000;
  • Criminalization of payment service providers offering services to unlicensed operators. The proposal also suggest a trial of blocking of payment transactions between unlicensed gambling operators and players; and
  • Liability for internet service providers to display warnings to visitors of unlicensed gambling sites.

The investigator’s goal is to reach a channelization rate of 90 percent. The proposal is available in Swedish at http://www.regeringen.se/rattsdokument/statens-offentliga-utredningar/2017/03/sou-201730/

If you have any further questions regarding the amendments to the Swedish Lotteries Act and the proposal, please contact Arthur Csatho, arthur.csatho@dlapiper.com, and Christopher Büller, christopher.buller@dlapiper.com, at DLA Piper Sweden.