Sweden receives 55 online gambling license applications
Swedenâs gambling regulator has received over 60 applications to operate in the countryâs new regulated market that gets underway next year.
On Friday, Swedenâs Lotteriinspektionen gaming regulatory body announced that it had received 60 applications to operate in the countryâs liberalized gambling market, which is set to kick off on January 1, 2019. Of these applications, 55 are seeking online casino and sports betting licenses.
Lotteriinspektionen added that some of these applications were incomplete and the regulator had begun informing some operators of the need to fill in the blanks or run the risk of not being approved by the regulated marketâs official launch date.
Lotteriinspektionen didnât spare itsel f from criticism, noting that âwe do not have concrete answersâ to questions submitted by operators seeking specifics on their responsible gaming and match integrity obligations.
Lotteriinspektionen similarly suggested that it âcannot provide advance noticeâ of how Swedenâs new gambling legislation should be interpreted regarding advertising and marketing limitations, adding that these questions âwill be clarified through jurisprudence.â
The regulatorâs director general, Camilla Rosenberg, noted that the period between Swedish legislators approving the new gambling law and the launch of the new market was âextremely short.â As such, the regulatorâs âabsolute priority in the autumn is to process applications and make decisions about licenses.â
Last week, Louise NylÃ©n, VP of mobile gaming operator LeoVegas, told a Stockholm seminar that it would have been better had the government clarified the new marketâ s rules and regulations before licensees go live.
As quoted by local financial tabloid Dagens Industri, NylÃ©n also cautioned Sweden against getting too restrictive regarding operatorsâ ability to advertise. NylÃ©n cited the recent experience in Italy, which enacted a blanket ban on gambling advertising, resulting in online operators not holding Italian licenses surging to the top of Googleâs search rankings.
Hiccups aside, Swedenâs application flood speaks volumes about the need for jurisdictions to enact sensible rules for online operators, including a reasonable rate of taxation (in Swedenâs case, 18% of revenue) and few restrictions on the types of online products that can be offered. Studies have shown this is the only way to effectively âchannelâ local gamblers to locally licensed sites.
Compare Swedenâs experience to that of Poland, which launched its liberalized online gambling market in April 2017, but has so far issued only 10 onli ne licenses. Operators have complained about Poland allowing online licensees to offer anything other than sports betting, while taxing that betting at 12% of turnover.