In Sweden, the government has reportedly released the details of long-awaited draft gambling legislation that would allow offshore online casino, bingo and sportsbetting operators to legally enter the market for the first time.
According to a report from CalvinAyre.com, the proposed legislation has already been sent to the European Commission for vetting purposes and intends keeping all land-based lotteries, casinos and gaming machines under the control of the state.
Should authorities in Brussels have no issues with the 1,340-page draft legislation, CalvinAyre.com reported that well-known foreign iGaming operators could begin the online gambling license application process as soon as March 20 in advance of being permitted to launch their services for Sweden-based players from the first day of 2019.
Despite ending the online gambling monopoly currently enjoyed by state-owned firm Svenska Spel AB, Public Administration Minister Ardalan Shekarabi reportedly declared that the implementation of the proposed legislation would allow his nation to ‘regain control of the Swedish gambling market’. This is purportedly because a study from the Lotteriinspektionen regulator recently found that a full one-quarter of the country’s current online gambling market is being controlled by operators licensed outside of Sweden.
As for particulars, CalvinAyre.com reported that the proposed legislation would allow the government to issue five-year online gambling licenses to qualified operators in return for these firms agreeing to pay an 18% tax on all of their locally-sourced revenues.
A second stipulation would reportedly require all firms holding one of the new online gambling licenses to house their computer servers in Sweden or in a jurisdiction deemed acceptable by the Lotteriinspektionen. Operators would also be able to get around this stipulation by agreeing to grant Swedish regulators complete remote access for inspection purposes while those based outside of the 31-nation European Economic Area are to be obligated to keep an official representative in Sweden.
In the area of player protection, the draft legislation is to reportedly ban anyone under the age of 18 from enjoying games online while this age limit would be extended by a further two years for land-based casinos. Operators would moreover be required to compel players to establish individual deposit limits and be completely banned from issuing credit with bonuses only available to first-time customers.
Finally, CalvinAyre.com reported that any licensed operator found to have broken the proposed rules could face fines of as little as $597 up to “as much as 10% of their annual turnover” from Swedish players.