Swedish re-regulation clears EC hurdle

21 March 2018

The regulated opening of Sweden’s igaming market has remained on track for 1 January, 2019 after the statutory standstill period set aside for review of the legislation by the EC and member states expired today.

No detailed opinions were received against the draft proposal during the three-month window for member states to comment on whether the draft would create unfair barriers to free movement of goods and services in violation of EU treaties.

The Swedish government is waiting for the Swedish State Counsel to deliver a legal assessment of the draft, ahead of it being submitted in parliament, which is was supposed to do by today in order for it to be considered in the current session.

The draft submitted in December will require all parties operating on the regulated Swedish gambling market, currently operated under a monopoly system, to obtain a licence.

The new framework will split the country's gambling market into three parts: a competitive part consisting mainly of online gambling and betting; another “for gambling for purposes in the public interest” such as lotteries and land-based bingo; and a final part reserved for the state, mainly made up of land-based casinos and slots.

Licensees will have to comply with obligations to track and protect players from excessive gambling, if necessary restricting their activity. Players will be able to self-exclude with all licence holders. Bonus offers will be limited to the first instance of gambling. ISPs will also be required to display warning messages on unlicensed sites.

Kindred is among the remote operators who have expressed concern to Swedish authorities over lottery and gaming monopoly Svenska Spel potentially being able to co-mingle and cross sell between its databases on the competitive side (containing online casino, poker and bingo) and those attached to its lottery and land-based gaming business, over which it will retain exclusive rights.