Although the Swedish Gambling Authority is not as well-known among gamblers as the UK Gambling Control Commission or Malta Gaming Authority, it doesn’t mean that its work should be overlooked. In this guide, we’re going to give the much-deserved attention to the Swedish e-gambling regulator and see how it’s working towards making online gambling in Sweden more reliable, secure, and enjoyable.
Like igaming regulators in other countries, the Swedish Gambling Authority - Spelinspektionen in Swedish - is engaged in monitoring and supervising e-gambling and lottery services which are provided in Sweden. The Swedish Gambling Authority has a home in Strängnäs, Sweden. The agency has a staff of 60+ highly competent employees that are qualified in various fields of expertise, such as law, psychology, economics, etc.
The Swedish Gambling Authority reports to the Ministry of Finance. The Authority has a Board helmed by the Director General. Currently, the Board is headed by Camilla Rosenberg. The Board has a wide range of responsibilities, from issuing reports, to developing regulations and guidelines, to consulting license holders.
If a gambling operator is willing to offer money-based gambling services to Swedish customers, it’s required to obtain a license from Spelinspektionen. The Authority only grants licenses to experienced operators who have proven their ability to run a fair e-gambling business in compliance with Swedish gaming laws. By the way, in 2020, gaming operators licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority accounted for nearly SEK 25,000 mln in profits.
In doing its work, the Swedish Gambling Authority is guided by the following tasks:
- create a fair, safe, and risk-free igaming environment where legal and honest casinos render high quality e-gambling services to customers;
- issue licenses to high-quality casinos, national lotteries, and other e-gaming operators that provide igaming services to Swedish customers;
- make sure license holders are abiding by the applicable gambling legislation and industry standards;
- reduce potential harmful consequences that gambling may have on gamblers’ lives;
- bring down the number of illegal casinos and lottery businesses that lack permits to render these kinds of services;
- raise awareness about safe gambling;
- provide reports to the Swedish government on the e-gambling market in Sweden and abroad.
2019 Gambling Act
In 2019, Sweden passed a new Gambling Act that has brought a series of changes into the Swedish gambling legislation that were long overdue. The thing is although the Swedish government legalized e-gaming in the early 2000s, it failed to develop the appropriate legislation to regulate the igaming market. The 2019 Act corrected that situation.
The new regulation allowed a gambling operator to provide services in Sweden provided it has a Swedish gambling license and abides by the local legislation. Also, the Authority now had the right to greenlight or ban any gambling activity, whether it’s taking place online or offline. On top of that, the 2019 Act introduced clear steps towards restraining money laundering which is a deep-rooted problem across all gambling jurisdictions. The legislation has already proven to have a number of benefits. It increased the safety of the Swedish e-gambling market, drew more gamblers to legal casinos, and boosted profits generated by gambling operators.
What Swedish Gambling Authority does
The Swedish Gambling Authority is adhering to the principles of responsible gambling. The agency is taking serious steps to ensure that e-gambling is not only a fun and entertaining pastime but also a safe activity that adult gamblers can engage in without harming their health, bank account or social connections.
Let’s see how the Swedish Authority regulates gambling businesses and what restrictions it has in place.
- The Swedish Gambling Authority obliges its licensees to give players a chance to suspend themselves from playing on high quality casino sites. Self-suspension means that a casino client decides to take a break from gambling for a certain period of time and block themselves on all casino and betting sites licensed by the Swedish authority. Sweden has a dedicated online register (spelpaus.se) where casino enthusiasts can “blacklist” themselves for their own peace of mind.
- Furthermore, online casinos in Sweden are prohibited from allowing gamblers to play on credit. The logic behind this is very simple. Punters are only allowed to play with their own money. Once a player has depleted their gambling budget, they need to realize that it’s time to quit. In fact, it’s often the lack of money that compels a player to calm down, abandon the idea of recouping their losses, and close an igaming site. Imagine what would happen if high quality casinos allowed punters to continue making real money bets on credit? People would start losing their heads and gamble away the money they don’t own, burying themselves deeper into debt.
- In Sweden, online users under 18 years old are not allowed to make real money bets on casino and sports betting sites.
- It’s also interesting to note that casinos licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority are allowed to provide a bonus to their clients only once, i.e. the first time the punter decides to bet real money on the igaming platform. This measure is aimed at keeping a lid on excessive gambling when punters, spurred by multiple bonuses, end up spending more than they can afford without thinking about consequences.
- The Swedish Gambling Authority obliges its license holders to closely monitor player behavior, protect players from excessive gambling, and encourage them to keep their gambling passion under control. High quality online casinos and sportsbooks must take proactive measures towards helping players fight gambling addiction. The agency has even developed detailed guidelines on how to identify cases of problem gambling and what kind of help to offer to a gambler who is experiencing problems with curbing their gambling passion.
- The Swedish Gambling Authority also keeps tabs on how casinos are promoting their services. Marketing of gambling services must not be too flashy or obtrusive. Plus, it must not target underage users or gamblers who are trying to keep a distance from gambling.
It’s important to say that the Swedish Gambling Authority also employs inspectors whose responsibility is to visit land-based casinos, bingo halls, etc., throughout the country and make sure that the services provided by these businesses are fair and transparent. On top of that, the presence of at least one supervising inspector is required every time a lottery is drawn.