Land-based casinos have been legal and regulated in Sweden since 1994. When online casinos became legal in the country in the 21st century, new regulations had to be implemented, and as Sweden’s laws concerning online gambling have continued to change, regulation has become more important than ever.
How Popular Are Online Casinos in Sweden?
Swedes have enjoyed playing games like roulette, blackjack, and slots at online casinos since 2002 when online gambling became legal in the country. But the Swedish government had a monopoly on the market until 2019. Since the new Gambling Act came into effect on the first day of 2019, the Swedish Gambling Authority has accepted more private online casino operators. So, today, there is more healthy competition among online casino platforms and more choices for Swedish players.
Looking at how much the Swedish company Evolution has grown in recent times is a key indicator of just how popular online casino gaming has become. The company produces and licenses casino games to online gaming operators. In May 2021, Reuters reported that Evolution’s shares had jumped by a whopping 170% over the last year, pushing the market value up to $38 billion (USD). To put that figure into comparison, the market value was only $3 billion in 2015.
Evolution is now among the ten biggest firms in Sweden. In 2020, Evolution grew even larger when it acquired 90% of the corporate shareholding of the well-known Swedish game development firm NetEnt, which provides the casino industry with some of the most memorable slot games around, including Starburst, Gonzo’s Quest, and the fabulous mystic staxx slot. Evolution bought the majority of its rival company NetEnt for $2.12 billion.
Online Casino Regulation
There were several reasons for Sweden to introduce the Gambling Act in 2019. Most importantly, it allowed the unregistered market to be regulated, making all online casinos in Sweden safe and fair for players. The Swedish Gambling Authority now handles the approval of all forms of gambling both online and offline. It uses strict regulations for responsible gambling to ensure players are protected.
Online Casino Licensing
The Gambling Act is based on a licensing system, meaning all online casino operators in Sweden must have a valid license. When casinos operate under the license it means they have to follow a number of obligations. Such obligations help to ensure things like players are protected from excessive gambling.
Legal action can be taken against online casinos that operate without a license, under the Gambling Act. Those actions can include injunctions, fines, and penalties. Licensed online casinos that do not follow the regulations can also face such actions. They could even have their licenses revoked.
How Are the Regulations Actually Helping?
The most important thing about online casino regulation in Sweden is it helps to protect players. While the vast majority of Swedes simply play online casino games for fun, some people can face excessive gambling problems. When the licensing system was introduced in Sweden, the country’s Gambling Authority set up Spelpaus, which is a self-exclusion list that all online gambling operators with a Swedish license have to connect to. The service allows people to exclude themselves from having access to online gambling and to stop receiving gambling marketing material. Also, under the Gambling Act, advertising for gambling services, in general, must be kept within reasonable limits. For instance, online casino ads may not be targeted at anyone under the age of eighteen.
Furthermore, Sweden makes sure that every online casino is continually evaluated to ensure regulations are being followed. That is accomplished by the Swedish Agency for Public Management. The organization follows up and evaluates the re-regulation of the Swedish gambling market, looking at a variety of things such as consumer protection and public health interests.