Gambling business in Sweden
Sweden is one of European countries, where gambling business is legalized and today it works not only in favor of country`s gamblers, but also for the state. Sweden`s attitude to gambling has always been quite complicated and not completed: it has been either allowed, or forbidden for some centuries. Nowadays casino gambling in Sweden – both online and offline – is accepted as legal entertainment, nonetheless some amendments have been included.
It is everything clear, when this is about countries, where gambling industry is allowed or forbidden. Sweden stays in so to say ‘borderline”. On the one hand, at country`s territory there are active irreplaceable gambling venues, online casinos also exist. On the other hand – industry in Sweden is monopolized. All forms of gambling entertainment are under management of the only national operator – Svenska Spel.
Since 1999, when they took the decision to legalize gambling industry, a lot of operators tried to get Swedish license. But license was issued only to Svenska Spel, and even today the situation stays unchangeable. How effectively and qualitatively do venues of monopoly act? How is gambling business in Sweden realized? What are further perspectives in development? All these issues we consider one by one in our article.
Svenska Spel Company on the Swedish gambling market
Svenska Spel is national enterprise that works in the field of gambling entertainments in Sweden. Today company`s staff consists of more than 2 thousand coworkers, the company also has some offices countrywide. Svenka Spel covers 53% of the whole Swedish gambling market and is controlled be State Inspectorate for organization of lotteries.
- Svenska Spel was established in 1997 during the merger of two companies, which were interested in gambling development in Sweden.
- In 1998 it received the right to organize sweepstakes and to launch them in the Internet.
- Since 1999 was got the permission to organize land-based casino. The company established a subsidiary, under whose brand name are represented all four active gaming houses. Besides, since 1999 Svenska Spel`s online activity was expanded. The company became the only legal provider of numerical and sports lotteries online.
- In 2006 it became national provider of online poker.
- According to the results of 2008, Svenska Spel was called the leader in development of responsible gaming behavior.
Svenska Spel has stayed the monopolist for 17 years providing gambling services to citizens and guests of Sweden. Nevertheless, popularity of foreign gambling venues, represented in the Internet, shouldn`t be denied. Attempts to block foreign casinos and prevent their appearance in Swedish gambling market were not successful. Moreover, current policy of the country concerning gambling does not match EU regulatory enactments. It is likely that soon the situation on gambling market of the country will change.
Nevertheless, until new bills are not developed and showed in the government, the situation remains stable. As for 2016 Svenska Spel – one of gambling companies in Sweden, it constantly brings growing profit to the state treasury. In current year the monopolist brought 1.5% of revenues more, than in similar period per 2015. It says about steadily increasing interest of the population to gambling entertainments. However, it is unclear in what way proposal will meet demand under the conditions of healthy market competition.
Real casino in Sweden
It is worth noting that before appearance of casino some elements of gambling industry (for instance slot machines) were presented in other venues – in bars, hotels` halls etc. However, there were no institutions, where people could find all kinds of gambling services. That is why casino, which appeared in the country, caused the interest of gamblers. Land-based venues of Svenska Spel Company bring about 5 million dollars to the state treasury.
In 1999 in the terms of issue of gambling in Sweden in the cultural and socio-political context, Swedish government gave permission to organize land-based casinos, Svenska Spel Company established subsidiary – Cosmopol, who became Swedish operator of gambling venues. Today in the whole country act just four land-based venues that centrally provide gambling services.
Beginning from 2001 they opened four gambling venues in different cities of Sweden. They were:
Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall – opened in the city Sundsvall in summer 2001.
Gambling venue of Sundsvall is situated in the building of the old railway station of XIX century architecture. The venue works seven days a week without weekends, From Monday to Friday casino is opened from 15:00 to 3:00. Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall offers its guests not only classical table entertainments, but also wide range of slot tables, there are about 150 different examples.
Here you can play in:
- Black Jack – there are five tables for the play;
- Some kinds of poker;
- Punto Banco;
- American and European roulettes;
- Sic Bo;
- Wheel of Fortune.
Guests of the casino are also provided with bars, restaurants, in addition there is nightclub.
Casino Cosmopol Malmo – opened in November 2001 in Malmo city.
Casino Cosmopol Malmo in Malmo can be found on the territory of great city park. The institution works daily from 13:00 to 4:00 and works according to the gambling laws in Sweden. Visitors can enjoy poker-rooms, recreation rooms – restaurants and bars, sports zone and several halls for holding conferences and meetings. Among gambling entertainments of the casino are:
- 29 tables for gambling, among which are poker, Black Jack, roulette, baccarat;
- 240 slot machines – slots, video poker, video roulette etc.
Casino Cosmopol Goteborg – opened in August 2002 in Goteborg.
Gambling venue is built ashore the river Göta Älv in an old house that considers being historical monuments of the city. The casino works daily. On weekdays, it is ready to take visitors from 11:30 to 3:00, and on weekends – from 11:30 to 5:00. Cosmopol Goteborg has restaurants and bars (including sport bars with big screens and live matches) also there is nightclub with dance floor.
Gamblers have the possibility to try:
- 42 gambling tables for popular card games and roulette;
- 366 slot machine.
Casino Cosmopol Stockholm – works in the capital of Sweden since March 2003.
Casino Cosmopol in Stockholm works seven days a week from 13:00 to 5:00. Gambling visitors of the venue are provided with:
- 46 tables for card games and other gambling table plays;
- 412 slot machines.
Besides, venue`s infrastructure includes restaurants, sports bars, poker rooms. It is worth to remember that schedule of poker rooms differs from casino`s timetable. The institution itself is active from 1 a.m., when poker rooms open in the evening, more often at 19:00 o`clock.
Annually state budget is supplemented thanks to gambling`s fans, and annual gross turnover of Cosmopol network makes about 4,6 milliards euros.
Online gambling in Sweden
Casino online in Sweden is one of the most popular kinds of leisure. As in many European countries, in Sweden digital technologies and security are highly developed, and all national services in the sphere of online gambling are strictly protected by the operator.
In order to play on Swedish sites, a user has to give personal data while registration, including social security number and account number. One of important parameters during registration is indication of the sum a gamer can spend on gambling entertainments online in 7 days.
All these niceties of online gambling in Sweden are necessary for composing interesting proposals for every separate client, and in addition for making an account, on which base the operator pays taxes to the state. It is worth to say that an opportunity of such control from the side of government exactly promotes monopolization of market: the state has to control only one operator. It means that avoiding taxes and other shadowy machinations from the side of providers of gambling services are absolutely excluded.
By the way, it is impossible to block the access to foreign online casinos for citizens of Sweden. Online gambling in the country is legally recognized, that is why there is no reason to forbid European virtual casinos. Representatives of business, who have Maltese or British license, get 47% of Swedish gambling market. Among European online casino sites in Sweden the most popular are:
- Expect etc.
Attempts to limit sphere of influence of foreign casinos
Despite appearing abroad partners in Swedish gambling market is inevitably, beginning from 2015 the government tries to limit influence and prevalence of foreign virtual venues in the country. On 30th March 2015 Ministry of Finance announced the results of statistical analysis made on request to study gambling entertainments advertising t in Sweden.
Country`s legislation spoke against any marketing steps promoting popularization of gambling in Sweden. With the caveat that prohibition concerns only providers, who have not got Swedish license allowing to take part in gambling business of the country.
At first sight such prohibition looks justified – the country tries to keep gamers` money in its budget. On the other hand, getting license in Sweden is possible only nominally. Since 1999 no company except Svenska Spel has received the license. That is why ban automatically concerns advertising of all European online casinos.
However, the bill has caused protest of representatives of UN`s countries, because it is direct violation of some UN laws. In particular, Swedish government`s actions were understood as discrimination of foreign enterprises. As a result, UN members filed a lawsuit in the European antimonopoly committee.
The greatest winnings in casinos of Sweden
Of course, gamblers` trust to the monopolist Svenska Spel is won not only by the objective absence of alternative. Swedish casinos – both land-based and virtual make their users happy by large winnings from time to time. Just one vivid example motivates gamers to try their hand and take a chance in those or that venues. It is clear enough that casino first of all works in favor of its administration and government. But enormous payouts, even if they are occasional, cause trust and interest of clients, that is why they happen.
- The greatest winning in real casino of Sweden was more than 3,7 million euros. In 2012 the prize got a lady visitor of Casino Cosmopol in Stockholm. The woman with her husband were constant guests of gambling venue and they usually played together. That time, when her husband left her in gambling room for a while, the woman won the jackpot on the slot machine. The winning`s sum made 3,7 million euros. The previous greatest winning in casino of Cosmopol network was 1,68 million euros.
- The hugest prize in online casino made 7,6 million. And one of recent, even less huge prizes, got a young gamer from Stockholm, who just registered on the site and made his first deposit. The young man spent for game less than 50 Euro and won jackpot in the amount of 4,1 million.
Amounts of winnings and comfort of play in online casino are much higher than in land-based gambling venues. No wonder that Swedes prefer playing on sites, and the state attempts to keep virtual part of gambling market monopolized. It lets create conditions, in which it will be as simple as possible for government to control online casino`s activity, and consequently get good profit. Most likely, exactly these reasons led to development of conflict in the sphere of gambling business among representatives of gambling in Sweden and UN.
Perspectives in development of gambling market
Today Swedish gambling market stays quite disputed area, where changes are unavoidable. After application of EU members in the anti-monopoly committee in November 2015, the gambling and problem gambling in Sweden and the situation in the field of providing gambling services was not resolved. The representative of the monopolistic company Anitra Steen claims that the organization of gambling business in Sweden fully corresponds UN`s laws, and it has been recognized permissible while consideration. At the same time Steen is sure that filing lawsuits initiator were illegal companies, whose work in Sweden is not provided.
Nevertheless, European Association for the organization and delivery of gambling expresses extremely opposite opinion. The legislative framework in Sweden really looks in accordance with UN laws, however current organization of gambling business does not fit international demands in fact.
In such a way, legally recognized gambling business belongs to the monopolist and despite provided an opportunity to obtain a license, no organization except Svenska Spel has got it. Association represents the union of legal providers of gambling services working for the British and Maltese licenses. And it means that these companies cannot be called “illegal”.
The conflict connected with actions of foreign casinos heats the situation on gambling market. Representatives of Sweden bet that advertising has to be forbidden, while there is no law forbidding activity of foreign online casino. UN representatives think that the ban of advertising is the direct obstacle of business`s organization in Sweden, because money invested in the development of the gambling industry of the country don`t kick.
Attraction of new users is suspended by restricting the marketing activities of companies. In such a way Sweden can lose European providers and positions on modern gambling market, what, as UN members think, is not profitable either the country, or companies, who try to run business there.
Swedish government claims that from the beginning of 2017 will be implemented new reforms and bills, which have to regulate gambling business of the country. One may ask: “Is gambling legal in Sweden?”. According to the statements by the Director-General of Svenska Spel Lennart Kalla, new amendments will create equal conditions for all licensed online venues – both Swedish and European. It will promote development of healthy market and eliminates the possibility of appearing illegal online casinos, which, as Kalla thinks, have been established recently a lot. What exactly institutions Kalla has called illegal is unknown in fact, especially after Anitra Steen`s statements.
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