Home to many online gambling businesses, Sweden has long had a gambling monopoly. That is changing now, as the country started to hand out online gambling licenses.
Regulated online gambling
Until now, Svenska Spel held the monopoly for most forms of gambling in Sweden, which mostly included the lottery but other forms of gambling as well. Operating in a grey zone, many online gambling operators still offered online gambling to Swedish residents, but it has taken many years for the monopoly to finally end.
In a move to open up the market and to adhere to European regulations of free and fair trade and offering of services, official online gambling licenses are now being handed out. Starting on the 1st January 2019, only licensed operators will be able to offer their services in Sweden. Since August this year, the Lotteriinspektionen regulatory body has been reviewing 95 application for gambling licenses, 70 of which were for online businesses.
New license holders
Among the first to receive an official Swedish gambling license was Svenska Spel, of course, and AB Trav & Galopp (ATG), who held the monopoly on the race tracks.
Further operations to benefit from a newly issued license are:
Kindred Group (with their brands Unibet and Maria Casino)
Mr Green AB
Betsson Group (which also includes NordicBet)
Bwin and PartyGaming
These operators all receive 5-year licenses, whilst LeoVegas, GVC Holdings and Casumo only received limited 2-year licenses. This is due to “past offences in other markets” as advised by Camilla Rosenberg, director general of Lotteriinspektionen. Casumo, for instance, was fined by the UKGC for failing to protect customers from gambling harm. And LeoVegas and GVC had been flagged for misleading advertising and bonus offers.
Whilst the specific standards of the new Swedish regulations have yet to be made transparent, this indicates that the authorities are intent on strict regulations and their adherence.
We generally consider additional licenses from important regulatory bodies a sign that a casino or operator is particularly well regulated and thus safer to play at.