In Sweden, the Lotteriinspektionen gambling authority has reportedly advised the government that it should scrap the nation’s monopolistic approach to online gaming and open up its domestic market to international operators.

According to a report from G3Newswire, the advice from Hakan Hallstedt, Director General for the Lotteriinspektionen, came as part of a government-sponsored review into the current Swedish online gambling market and additionally included a recommendation to institute an 18% gross gaming revenues tax on all foreign operators.

Sweden has given birth to many online gaming operators including Cherry AB and Mr Green Limited while more than 80% of the Scandinavian nation’s population uses the Internet at least once a day with hand-access becoming ever more widespread. The popularity of e-sports is also rapidly growing with almost 400,000 Swedes on average watching the activity daily.

G3Newswire reported that the Lotteriinspektionen review additionally recommended keeping in place the current monopoly on land-based casino and lottery operations held by state-owned Svenska Spel, which currently runs four casinos via its Cosmopol subsidiary in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmo and Sundsvall while moreover being responsible for lottery brands such as Lotto, Triss, Stryktipset and Oddset.

The review findings are now due to undergo a period of consultation with legislators reportedly hoping to institute new rules before the nation holds its next general election in September of 2018.

Despite the prohibition on Sweden-based players using the services of offshore online gambling operators, this sector reportedly accounts for 23% of the entire domestic market and last year posted growth of 16% year-on-year while home operations lagged behind with only a 2% upturn. The second half of 2016 additionally saw foreign firms account for approximately 70% of Swedes’ total monthly spend on sportsbetting even though they attracted only 35% of all sports gamblers with local analyst Mediavision listing giants Unibet, Bet365 and Betsson as the three most popular players.

“Sportsbetting is a gambling type that clearly illustrates how offshore gambling operators compete with operators regulated in Sweden,” Arvid Asbrink, a senior analyst at Mediavision, told G3Newswire. “Moving forward, the competition will likely also get tougher within other types of gambling. The fact that online casino is exclusive for operators based outside Sweden is something a market re-regulation could change. Meanwhile, we see how an increasing number of operators have shifted their interest towards horseracing, a gambling type that accounts for a significant share of the Swedish gambling market’s turnover. We expect significant change on several levels throughout the years to come.”

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