Swedish Gaming License from 2019

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Something difficult to avoid lately is the discussion about the changes in the Swedish gaming licenses. The giant Svenska Spel, who has a monopoly in Sweden, has been involved in the design of a game license that will be controlled by the Swedish state.

This new game layer means in large part that a player who does not have a Swedish playing license can not be on the Swedish gaming market. The new team will also clarify the rules that players will follow and introduce sharpened gameplay.

Sweden’s GDP – the sum of all goods and services produced in the country for one year – amounted to approximately SEK 4 600 billion by 2017. The state’s revenue for gaming was SEK 6.4 billion during the same year.

At the same time, the game advertisement was 5.5 billion kronor – close to a doubling of the previous year, when only the Postcode Lottery had a turnover of around SEK 3.5 billion. Even online gaming has doubled, albeit slightly slower.

During the first quarter of 2018, more than half of all gambling occurred online, while online gaming accounted for only about a quarter of the total gambling ten years ago.

A quarter is also the share of the market that players without Swedish gaming license hold at present.

What will the Government do to affect?

In other words, it is easy to understand why the government wants to make these changes in the game licenses right now. The gaming market is extremely lucrative, not least online, with an almost 500 per cent increase over the past ten years.

However, the question is, how many companies will actually move back to the Swedish regulations. In Malta, companies are taxed only at around 5% of their profits and the new law in Sweden proposes that companies be subject to an excise duty of 18%.

Probably the government wishes a scenario where the main players move their business to Sweden and that the others disappear from the Swedish players’ awareness.

In this way, they would effectively create a form of oligopoly, where the major players, under the surveillance eye of the state, continue to grow bigger while they faithfully pray to the Big Brother.

The process that has been in progress with the new Swedish game act has been long, and everything is not yet crystal clear, even though it is not a revolutionary legislative change that is proposed.

Since many other EU countries already have such legislation, like England and Denmark, the law can be interpreted as an adaptation to the laws of surrounding countries.

This is not least suggested by the representatives of all parties in the Culture Committee, where everyone except the Left Party and the Swedish Democrats approved the bill.

It’s hard to see how anyone, except for the gaming companies who have earned the big deal without a license for many years, will get worse from the government’s bill.

This is, as I said, no radical regulation. It’s an easy point to do for the government and a welcome like that. This is protectionism at its best – in any case, it seems now in advance.

The new legislation should not be limited to old-fashioned games in bingo halls, tobacco stores and slot machines. Still, it is also intended to regulate games that are “provided over the internet and target the Swedish market”.

The state monopoly of the state is not much more than an illusion today – admittedly, they have a monopoly on physical games. Still, the ever-increasing virtual gaming market is not the state’s domain.

The government also hopes that through the change of law, a certain measure of the order will be created in the rather messy gaming market.

On the Government Offices website, it can be read that the bill proposes to provide “high consumer protection and high security” and “the negative consequences of gambling should be limited”.

This means hoping that the more obscene actors completely disappear from the gambling of the Swedish people. However, there are doubts that there will be a non-licensed market growing for online gaming.

It is also possible to regulate what has hitherto been powerless – for example, how the gaming companies advertise, something they naturally could do even when they have been located abroad.

The proposed change of law would, if it is now underway, be the latest in a long line of privatisations.

Although the Swedish monopoly of monopoly has a long history and is almost as well embodied in the collective consciousness of the Alcohol Monopoly, acceptance of deregulation has increased as society changed.

The hard hand of Social Democracy has become more relaxed, and the fact that it is now proposed to propose this so-called re-regulation (which of course is nothing but partial liberalisation) is a sign that it is becoming increasingly difficult to resist the unsustainable competitive pressure of globalisation.

A new game regulation has been a long time, and since this development is complicated, if not impossible, to stop it maybe now, it is time for Sweden to jump on the train and accompany new times.