Offshore Casinos Still Banned from Advertising in Sweden

Tia Winter | 06 September 2018

Swedish newspapers Aftonbladet and Expressen have lost their appeal against Lotteriinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Authority. Lotteriinspektionen brought forward an injunction against the two newspapers to prevent them from offering links to foreign gaming sites on their websites in 2013.

The papers appeal was denied, and the ban upheld by Swedish courts.

Sweden’s Governing Legislation

The Swedish Lotteries Act (1994) Lotterilagen and The Casino Act (1999) Kasinolag govern gambling in the country. It states that all betting activities must be controlled by the state and its representative agencies.

It is currently a criminal offense to promote gambling that is not licensed by the state, as is the case with offshore sites. Aftonbladet and Expressen both provided clickable links to offshore casinos on their websites. The ruling comes at a time when the Swedish industry is undergoing numerous changes in license regulations. The changes aim to curb criminal activity such as unlicensed offshore sites.

Over the last several years the Swedish Gambling Authority has issued numerous similar injunctions. Lotteriinspektionen director general, Camilla Rosenburg has said that the tribunals stand against unregulated lotteries is a positive one and hopes that this will put an end to the promotion of foreign sites.

A new act, the Game Act 2018, will come into effect in January 2019. The Act will further prohibit commercial advertising to include promotion of games not regulated by the state.

The motivation behind these laws is one of control and crime and addiction prevention. By restricting private operators, the Acts aim to funnel surplus funds from gambling activities into social projects for the greater good.

Svenska Spel, the state-owned company, currently has the monopoly in Sweden’s regulated market. The company has been mandated by the state to provide games responsibly. Over 6000 agents and 2000 private restaurants, bars and gaming halls currently carry out its sales. All surfeit funds are paid directly to the National Treasury.

Re-regulating the Industry

The new law may see the Svenska Spel monopoly coming to an end. The re-regulated market requires all providers to apply for and be granted a license to operate. The market is to be divided into a competitive sector, a not-for-profit sector, and a central government sector.

With more than 70 applications received under the new licensing laws. The new law will include an 18% tax on Gross Gaming Revenue for online companies and taxation on winnings from unregulated sites.

Swedish punters can look forward to a wider range of betting options in 2019.

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