Malta based, Swedish gaming giant, Betsson Group, is among the first international gambling companies that are granted a license to operate legally in the Swedish market, shortly after the new Swedish law on online gaming comes into effect, on January 1st 2019.
It comes as no surprise that the company that provides gambling related entertainment in Sweden since 1963 is among the very first operators that move into the newly regulated market. Although it currently runs over 15 different gaming brands, the Swedish license expands only onto 3 of them: Betsson, NordicBet and SverigeAutomaten. That doesn’t mean of course that Betsson’s other brands will be out of the game, since they will continue operating in other regions that they currently accept players from. We shall not forget that the group owns and operates over 15 brands globally, with an aggressive acquisition strategy that included at least one corporate transaction every year for the last 10 years.
The move into the Swedish market was absolutely reasonable and Betsson is one of many large gaming companies that will enter, especially after the local government announced a rather low gaming tax of 18% on Gross Gaming Revenue, rate that ranks the Swedish gaming tax among the lowest in the European Union. Betsson had been lobbying and preparing for this move for years. Its sponsorship of the local Hockey League that started last August was the first move towards the new era that will officially start next month. However, many analysts doubt that the law will come into effect on the first day of January 2019, due to the fact that out of the 60+ operators that have applied for a license over the last couple of months, only a handful have secured a license until now. Companies that haven’t been granted a license claim that the delay is a sole responsibility of the authorities and therefore a block of their operation cannot be enforced on that date.
The Swedish market, despite the small population of the Scandinavian country, is widely considered one of the best for online operators. With an overall GGR that exceeds 2bn Euros per year (est for 2018) the market has long undergone a transition with a number of companies claiming they have a license and a strong local monopoly that tried to prevent the application of a proper regulatory framework. Online gaming revenues have been steadily increasing year on year, although the market share is still well under 50% and the government seemed a bit concerned on the number of operators without a permit that are currently active and earn an income there.
Lobbyists argue that licensing the Swedish market is a move that makes perfect sense, since the online casinos, sport books and poker rooms that dominate the market are anyway Swedish operators that haven’t obtained a license yet. Most of these companies operate out of Malta with their HQs or significant business units still based in Sweden. At licensedtoplay.co.uk we remain committed to updating our readers on all developments with regards to regulation and legal casinos, so we will keep you posted for the progress of licensing in Sweden.