Sweden: Amendments to the Swedish gambling legislation

Only months before the investigator appointed by the Swedish Government is scheduled to present his proposal for the introduction of a licensing system in Sweden, changes are made to the current Swedish gambling legislation.

The changes entered into effect on 1 January 2017 and introduces new requirement on marketing activities of lotteries in Sweden, namely that such activities must be moderate and must not address individuals under the age of 18. It is still not clear exactly what actions must be taken to ensure that marketing activities comply with the requirement of being moderate. However, in the preparatory works, references are made to the requirements imposed on marketing of alcoholic beverages and to the European Commission’s recommendation of principles for the protection of consumers and players of online gambling services and for the prevention of minors from gambling. Violations against these new marketing-related rules of the Swedish Lotteries Act will be deemed to constitute undue marketing and thereby violate the Swedish Marketing Act. In effect, the Swedish Consumer Agency will have greater opportunities to issue orders and prohibitions (under penalty of fines) to prevent marketing activities that violates the new rules.

The effect of the new rules remains to be seen. Since the Swedish Lotteries Act only applies in Sweden, we do not assess that the new rules will affect offshore operators marketing their gambling services from abroad. However, for local marketing, the new rules may have a serious impact, provided that the Swedish Consumer Agency and Swedish Gambling Authority does not remain passive while awaiting the upcoming changes in the Swedish Gambling Legislation.

Aside from introducing new requirements on marketing, the amended Swedish Lotteries Act now includes a clear age limit of 18 years to participate in lotteries, and express wording clarifying that only governmentally owned or controlled gambling companies may obtain Swedish gambling licenses. Finally, the legislator has clarified that operators of Swedish lotteries must take security measures to address social and health-related issues are taken.

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