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A shocking year with the Swedish regulated gaming market

This is a guest post written by Bruno Berlafa. If you would like to submit a contribution, please contact us: info@bookmakers2u.com

Swedish Flag Legislation

Soon it has been 1 year since the Swedish regulated land market started up. For those of you who don't know, Sweden got a new gaming regulation at the turn of the year when the entire gaming market was re-regulated. All companies that in any way want to offer games about money in Sweden must first apply for a gaming license. In the past, the gaming companies have operated in a gray zone, often with licenses from distant countries, such as from Curaçao or the British Virgin Islands. Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden's Minister of Social Security, calls it the end of two decades of "wild west".

So how did the Swedish Gaming Act work during the first year? Well, several gaming companies with a Swedish license have received warnings and many are charged with sanctions fees amounting to several million Swedish crowns. One gaming company has so far had its gaming license revoked. However, no gaming company without a Swedish license has suffered some reprisals, although it has been found that many of them still welcome players from Sweden, which is now illegal.

The goals of the new Swedish legislation

One of the main goals of the new legislation was to increase consumer protection and be able to demand tax from the companies operating in the Swedish market.

  • Gaming companies are taxed at 18% on their profits.
  • Players must set game limits before they can start playing day, week and month.
  • The possibility of bonuses for players has greatly diminished. Only one bonus per licensing company applies.
  • VIP programs or other promotions should no longer encourage players to invest more in their games.
  • All gaming companies must be connected to the self-suspension system Spelpaus.se
  • All marketing should be moderate.
  • There must be at least three seconds between each spin in a slot machine.

The bonus regulation - A major threat to companies with a Swedish license

The re-regulation of the Swedish gaming market has been long-awaited also from the serious gaming companies, but unfortunately, it has been a backside of the regulation. There is a growing group of Swedish players who choose to play with companies without a Swedish gaming license. As a consumer, you obviously want as much value as possible when playing online and therefore many Swedes choose to play with gaming companies without a Swedish license instead.

Bonus - Yes Please!

The new Gaming Act was added to increase consumer protection, but at the same time, they managed to deprive the players of much of the pleasure by limiting bonus offers as well as other benefits that are no longer available to players to the same degree. The unlicensed gaming companies still lure with unlimited bonus offers and other small things. In addition, players can bypass their suspension on Spelpaus.se because the gaming companies without a license are not connected to the system. So far, the marketing of the foreign gaming companies has had no consequences for them compared to the Swedish licensed companies which have been severely punished despite having done things to protect the players, which often does not seem sufficient.

The consequences for the unregulated gaming companies do not exist

So far, the marketing of the unregulated gaming companies has had no significant consequences for these, which can be compared with the Swedish licensed companies that have been severely punished with fines and penalties despite having done things to protect the players, which often does not seem sufficient. Due to bonus penalties and sanctions, it has gone so far that several regulated gaming companies no longer dare to distribute bonuses for fear of being fined by the Gaming Inspectorate. Is this the right way to go? Neither the players nor the gaming companies themselves want this development.

Douglas Roos founder of Ladbrokes Norden and later online casino Frank & Fred thinks the Gaming Inspection should focus its attention on the illegal gaming companies. He says: “In total, we will pay legal companies over SEK 4 billion in tax in 2019 and we try to follow the gaming regulations. "It's sad and a shame that we have the Gaming Inspectorate's focus when the illegal companies should have it."

Secretary-General of the Industry Association for Online Gaming (BOS), Gustaf Hoffstedt predicts gambling at casinos without a license will continue to increase. Gustaf says: “It's not so much about building walls. Customers go to the place where the other conditions are the most attractive and then the licensed companies allow to create an attractive service."

Gaming Inspection's work to stop unregulated companies

Spelinspektionen

The Gaming Inspector has some distance left to a waterproof market with the highest possible consumer protection. So far, we have seen that their focus has been on punishing the Swedish gaming companies who have misunderstood the rules on moderate marketing. However, it is not believed that fines will work to stop the operators without a license. If the Gaming Inspectorate does not provide information to the illegal gaming companies, they may instead propose payment services and game providers to block transactions between Swedish players and companies without a license.

Marcus Aronsson, who coordinates illegal gambling at the Gaming Inspectorate, says: “We can hand them in with fines. But the companies are a bit away from us and then it becomes difficult to demand and sanction. Then again, we should not reconcile prohibition with a penalty again, which is probably not available to recover it ”. And he adds, "We have to use other ways to limit our business."

What does the future look like for the Swedish regulated market?

There are several reasons why players choose gaming companies and casinos without a gaming license. As I mentioned before, there is limited access to bonus offers as a dominant factor, along with the ability to get around their game breaks as well as being able to play faster on slots without a three-second "cool-off". The fact that consumer protection is high and therefore considered safer to play on companies with Swedish licenses is not necessarily a sufficient factor for the players. After all, the Swedes are used to playing online games from unregulated markets, this has been done for over 20 years without any major problems.

focus on the future

I would encourage more regulations. One way for the gaming inspection could be to prevent payment providers from conducting transactions to stop game flying. A better way would be to allow the Swedish gaming companies to offer enough value in the gaming experience for players to choose our licensed gaming sites over those without a license. Again, I would like to emphasize that many players mainly choose gaming companies and casinos that they think are the best. The Gaming Inspectorate's actions so far have gone in the opposite direction to this particular claim. In other words, it will be of great importance that there will continue to be more BENEFITS for players to choose casinos with a Swedish license and as long as the unregulated players have no consequences.

This article was made by Bruno Berlafa who has many years of experience in the I-gaming industry and started his journey on BetIt which was later sold to the Gaming Innovation Group. There he was the head of a subsidiary before moving to once again to help start up the casino site Dreamz.com. He is also the founder of the digital agency Perfecto Digital SL, which acts as a subsidiary of the Swedish website bästabettingsidorna.se