The Swedish gambling market

Some facts

  • The Swedish gambling market is regulated by Spellagen (2018:1138), the Gambling Act, with a strong focus on consumer protection and gambling addiction.
  • Spellagen regulates three gambling segments: online gambling and betting, lottery and bingo, and the state monopoly compricing live casinos and cash machines,
  • About100 gambling operators have active licenses (licenses for non-profit purposes not included) in the Swedish market.
  • In 2022 the Swedish gambling market had a total gross revenue of SEK 27 billion. In 2021, the total gross revenue was SEK 26 billion.
  • Licensed gambling companies pay a gambling tax,18 percent on the difference between stakes and payouts (the proceeds). Gambling for charitable purposes is tax-exempt and the surplus is dedicated charitable purposes.
  • In 2021, the state’s gambling revenue totaled SEK 7.4 billion (gambling tax, dividends from Svenska Spel AB and corporation tax).Gambling accounts for one percent of the Swedes disposable income.
  • In 2022, 72 percent of all Swedes state that they have gambled in the last 12 months, compared to 58 percent in 2018.
  • Approximately 2,500 people are employed by gambling companies domiciled in Sweden and approximately 10,000 by companies with a Swedish license but domiciled abroad.
  • Betting on horses creates a yearly surplus of about SEK two billion.
  • Every year lotteries generate approximately SEK 1.6 billion for the non-profit sector.
  • Just over four percent of the population between the ages of 16-84 have a risky gambling pattern
  • Of those with risky gambling pattern, 3 percent have some risk of gambling problems, 1 percent have an increased risk and 0.5 percent have gambling problems.
  • Men have a significantly higher risk of gambling problems compared to women.
  • Since 2017, moderation must be observed when marketing gambling products.
  • Since 2019, the duty of care has been in place, with the aim of protecting the consumer from risky gambling.
  • By February 2024, 106 000 individuals are self-excluded from gambling through

The Gambling Act

Until 2019 Sweden had a monopoly gambling market where only state-owned companies (Svenska Spel) or state-controlled companies (ATG) were allowed to provide gambling for money. Public service organisations (Postkodlotteriet, Folkspel, Miljonlotteriet, etc.) were allowed to arrange lotteries and bingo activities.

With increased digitalization, the monopoly gradually was put out of system and Swedish customers were able to gamble via operators based outside of Sweden. Therefore, a new legislation was required that included those who have applied for a license and comply with Swedish regulations, and keep those without a license out.

In May 2018, after several years of investigations, the Riksdag voted in favour of the new Gambling Act which was introduced on January 1, 2019. The new law gives a strong consumer protection and the negative effects of gambling are to be limited.

With the new law, cheating is considered a crime and a special council has sat up concerning match fixing.

The gambling market is divided: a competitive part, which mainly involves online gaming and betting; a part that covers gambling that has a public benefit, which mainly includes lotteries and bingo; and one part reserved for the government, which mainly includes casinos and token machines.

Operators with a license pays 18% in tax on profits made on gambling in Sweden. Gambling for non-profit purposes is tax exempt. If a player wins money on a site owned by a non-licensed operator, the player will have to pay tax on the profit. For more information about the new gabling tax please visit the Swedish Tax Agency’s web.

An important principle in Swedish gambling regulation is that only licensed operators are allowed on the gambling market. Hence, from July 1, 2023, a permit is required for gambling software.

A permit is required for anyone who manufactures, supplies, installs or modifies gaming software for online betting and commercial online gaming. A permit holder may not manufacture, provide, install or modify gambling software for anyone who lacks the necessary license according to the Gambling Act. A licensee shall ensure that the gaming software used is manufactured, provided, installed and modified by someone who has permit for this. The requirement aim is to contribute to make it harder for unlicensed operators to provide gambling to the Swedish market.

Read more about the work against match fixing here

Match fixing

A new provision against match fixing was introduced as the the new Gambling Act came into force on January 1, 2019. The Gaming Authority was given the role of the cooperating authority against the manipulation of sports events regarding match fixing. A match fixing council has been formed which is coordinated by the Gaming Authority. The Council consists of several authorities but also representatives from the gaming industry and the sports movement. The gaming industry is represented by Sper and Bos.

Money Laundering

On August 1, 2017, a new Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (Prevention) Act came into force in Sweden. This means that the gambling industry is subject to the actions required by law by operators to prevent the business from being used for money laundering and terrorist financing.

The purpose of the Money Laundering Act is twofold, to prevent money laundering and to report if any deviation occurs in the business.

The tools mentioned in the legislation to achieve the purpose of the law are customer knowledge, ongoing monitoring of financial transactions, internal training, and requirements for reporting suspicious transactions to the Swedish Financial Intelligence Unit.

To identify the internal risks, operators must carry out annual internal risk analyses that will serve as the basis for where the business will focus its resources according to the principle of a risk-based approach.