Swedish gambling regulations and where to play

Sweden has been considered one of the most restrictive countries in terms of gambling activities until recently.

Gambling dice [Illustrative] (photo credit: PIXABAY)
Gambling dice [Illustrative]
(photo credit: PIXABAY)
The online gambling industry has grown rapidly over the past few years in many regions across the world. While there are hundreds of betting sites to choose from with plenty of games to enjoy there are a few restrictions depending on your region.
Sweden has been considered one of the most restrictive countries in terms of gambling activities until recently. It was only in 2018 when they started working on drafting new regulations that would open their gambling market up to foreign operators. Until then players could only take part in state run gambling activities.
The new Swedish Gambling Act
The new Swedish Gambling Act was voted in by Parliament on the 14th of June 2018. It came into effect on the 1st of January 2019 and focuses on gambling for real money.
With the new gambling act in place there is now a system of licensing gaming companies to allow them to legally offer betting to Swedish residents. In December 2018 there were about 88 online gambling operators that have applied for licenses. Of these 60 were given initial approval as of January 2019.
All operators that have been granted a license are required to obtain certification for their technical solution by a Swedish accredited body before 1 July 2019. Any operators who fail to obtain this certification will have their license revoked.
How the new act affects gambling in Sweden
Sweden has always been rather strict when it comes to the gambling market. And with the new gambling regulations in place they still aim to remain in control by strictly regulating sites.
The main focus of the bill is to ensure the safety and security of residents taking part in online gambling activities. This is why the new bill has a clause stating that licensed operators are required to protect players from excessive gambling activities by adding restrictions and self-help options to their site.
Any operator offering unlicensed services to Swedish gamblers will have to face the consequences. These include having transactions blocked to and from gamblers and possibly having their site blocked. All Internet Service Providers are required to set up warning messages for websites that offer unlicensed gambling. Furthermore, all advertising and promotion of gambling without a license will be seen as a criminal offense. Participating parties in such illegal activities will be prosecuted.
While Sweden has finally opened their online gambling market to foreign operators there are strict rules and regulations. Any and all operators who offer illegal services or fail to follow the regulations will be prosecuted. The idea is to provide Swedish gamblers with a safe and secure gambling experience with little to no dangers involved.
Spelinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Authority, will be focused on regulating the market and curbing all illegal activities. Spelinspektionen has been reinforced by the government and given more and sharper tools to increase effectiveness.
Unlicensed operators can therefore expect to be shut out of the market. All license-holders who operate outside of the law will have their license revoked. Furthermore, the Swedish Agency for Public Management has been given instructions to follow up the reform and make amendments to the act if goals of reform are not achieved.  This according to the Minister for Public Administration, Ardalan Shekarabi, is to help regulate a market that has been unregulated for a very long time. The focus being on regaining control of the Swedish Gambling Market and protecting citizens from unlicensed operators, possible scams and criminal activities.
Where to place your bets
While this new open door policy is fantastic news for both online gamblers and Sweden as a whole, based on increased tax revenues, it does also mean consumers need to take the time to review the history and reputation of the slew of new operators they will now have legal access too.
“It is important to for the Swedish gambling community to not become overwhelmed by choice” said Mikael Torstensson of Bästa bettingsidorna  “Now more than ever it is important to pick a trusted betting site with a long history of good customer service and honoring big wins.”
As new operators are granted licenses and make, or break, their names in this exciting new chapter in Sweden’s gambling history here is a check list of items your ideal betting site should offer:
•    Have a full valid license to operate in Sweden
•    Have a proven track record of honoring wins of all sizes
•    Have been vetted by a trusted Swedish betting community for great odds, fair play and of clear bonus terms
This need for security and additional vigilance is especially important as Swedish regulators transition operators from the initial approval phase into the tested and approved phase where they will then be awarded their full Swedish betting license.