Sweden very recently changed its gambling law. Over the last decade, the Swedish online gambling sector has gone from being protectionists with monopolies to being unregulated. As recently as 2018, Swedish players were free to play at any casino or gaming domain without question. However, things have changed dramatically since a new set of legislation was passed and became active in January 2019. What are these latest changes and how do you they affect you as a player in Sweden?
Is Online Gambling Legal in Sweden?
All forms of gambling are considered legal in Sweden, including online casino gaming. According to laws passed in 1994 and 1999, only a Swedish licensed operator could offer their services to the masses. In reality, the only operator with such a license was the state-sponsored Svenska Spel, who had a monopoly on online gambling enterprises. As you might imagine, this did not sit well with the European Union, who do not approve of monopolies, and they decided to take the Swedish government to the European Court of Justice over unfair practices surrounding the single market, and freedom of services and competition.
While Svenska Spel reigned supreme, and all other casinos were deemed illegal, there was no punishment for playing at offshore casinos. Sweden’s laws were designed to ensure that their own backed franchise – Svenska Spel – had the edge, and for a while, that was the case. However, fearing a backlash from the EU, Sweden decided to open up its market to other operators (provided they acquired a Swedish license) via a new law which passed in January 2019.
In an ironic twist of fate, the Swedish online gambling market is now far less competitive than it had been under the days of Svenska Spel. While Sweden continues to allow its players to visit foreign sites, they have implemented a fine for any international operator who doesn’t have a license from the Swedish Gambling Commission but offers their services to Swedes. As a result, many top casinos no longer accept players from the country.
Swedish Online Casinos
The good news for Swedes is that because the population loves to gamble, many top casino operators have applied for licenses to offer gambling services to the masses. Moreover, the gambling commission has been whipping out permits at a record rate, with over 150 unveiled in the first month of the new law coming into effect.
What this essentially means is that any operator in the world can offer their games to Swedish players, provided they pay for a license. Of course, they must also adhere to other terms and conditions, which make them fall in line with Swedish regulations.
A typical Swedish online casino will not only offer gameplay in that language but also permit players to use the SEK (Swedish krona) currency. They are also required to make players use Klarna or BankID to make a deposit, so that money laundering cannot take place.
Offshore Casino Sites for Swedish Players
Truth be told, Swedish players shouldn’t really need to visit an offshore casino – that is, a casino based and licensed outside of the country. There are plenty of top casinos which are licensed in Sweden, and any number of these will feature all of the above, as well as top games from Scandinavian software giants such as Netent, Play ‘n Go, Yggdrasil and many more.
Should you not wish to play at a Swedish casino, though, there are options open to you. These casinos may also provide the SEK currency, but that is unlikely. Such casinos may also be difficult to access, as many operators who do not have a Swedish license have now shied away from making their domain accessible to Swedes, for fear of a hefty fine.
Virtual private networks (VPNs) have been proven to be successful in getting Swedes into foreign sites they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to play at, although some casinos do state in their terms and conditions that using VPNs are considered a breach of their acceptable use policies.
Make no mistake about it, though. Swedish players are entitled to sign-up and play at illegal casinos, and there is no punishment in store for them if they do. However, advertising for an offshore casino or running an illegal betting operation yourself will see you potentially land a hefty fine or in the worst cases a jail sentence.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
Almost certainly not. Sweden only just implemented their new gambling laws in January 2019, so it would be most bizarre if they made changes to it already. The licensing program has proven to be a big success for Sweden, with many major domains hurrying to obtain a permit. Very few casinos have decided to close their doors to Swedes.
The only way that anything is likely to change at any point in the future is if the European Union considers countries as protectionists if they only accept casinos licensed out of their nation. In theory, any EU licensed website should be able to offer games to players in another EU member state. However, since the way Sweden has organised its gambling laws is the same in most other EU countries, nothing is likely to change for a few years.
Top Swedish Casino Sites
With so many popular and mainstream Swedish casino sites to choose from, players in the Scandinavian nation are spoilt for choice. Of course, if they do decide that they want to play at an offshore casino, there are many around which do still accept players from the Nordic country.
Some of the better casinos which are worth a look include Casumo, Video Slots Casino, Betway, PlayOJO Casino, Rizk Casino, Casino POP, Dunder Casino, Guts Casino, Cashmio, and EU Casino. More top Swedish and offshore sites can be found below.