Sweden has a long history of gambling. The new Swedish gambling law accepted in 2019 comes to truly change the history of gambling in Sweden. Since the year 2002 gambling online became legal in the country. Until 2019 the only legal place for the Swedish were two state-run organizations. On the contrary to this situation, the new law gives legal space for hundreds of online non-government gambling services.
The history of gambling in Sweden dates back to the time of the Vikings. Moreover, according to some legends in the 11th century, a game of dice was used to settle disputes between Sweden and Norway.
Nowadays, Sweden is home to some of the biggest European gambling groups. It has the Kindred Group, the company behind the well-known Unibet, and Betsson, a business covering several Nordic countries. Despite this, Sweden’s local gambling market was a state monopoly up until 2018.
History of Gambling in Sweden: Overview
Gambling is a widespread form of entertainment in Sweden. Here you can find various offline and online forms of it. The popular games are poker, lottery tickets, slot machines, etc. Many of the games are present in local bars, ferries and as well as online at for example BetSafe.
There are only four land casinos in Sweden. You can find them in Sundsvall, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmo. These casino houses have games such as slots, poker, blackjack, roulette, baccarat. To play any of these games in a land casino, you must be at least 20 years old. However, you can play online versions of these games at online casino sites in Sweden if you are 18.
The new law and its impact
Gambling is legal in Sweden. While land-based gambling has been legal since 1994, online gambling sites in Sweden became legal in 2002.
However, for 17 years there were only two state companies that had the right to provide online gambling services. In spite of this, many not certified foreign companies formed a big “grey” market. Such companies have made a huge profit. For example, in 2018 they collected 720,000 $ out of the total 2,500,000 $ market.
Sweden presented a new set of regulations last winter to solve this issue. A new Gambling Act entered into effect on 1 January 2019. This had put an end to the online gambling monopoly. As a result, the industry is now open to private operators as well.
There were several reasons for issuing the new reforms. First, to recognize the unregistered market. Secondly, because the country would benefit from the taxes.
The Swedish Gambling Authority has the right under the new act to approve gaming activities both online and offline. The new law brings strong rules on responsible gambling and protects the players. For example, not allowing operators to offer credits to the players. Moreover, providing the option of self-exclusion to the players is a rule from now on. Around 100 organizations have been registered by September of this year changing the history of gambling in Sweden.
Despite this, the Act doesn’t take control of the industry out of the government’s hands.