Online Gambling

Online Gambling in Sweden

Online gambling in Sweden is legal. And winnings from sites within the European Union are tax free!

There are only a couple brick-and-mortar casinos open, all operated by the state. In Sweden the laws are more aimed at people advertising for casino games rather than the players themselves.

In 1997, Sweden's two major lotteries, Tipstjanst and Svenska Penninglotteriet, merged to form a single company. The new organization changed its name to AB Svenska Spel in April 1997. Today Svenska Spel, along with Travoch Galopp (the Swedish horse racing organization), runs a complete monopoly over all gambling in Sweden, including casinos, game machines, sports betting, poker games, and lotteries.

The state-run monopoly over all forms of gambling in Sweden has received considerable criticism from the European Union and its constituent nations.

Other gambling companies have tried to take part in the lucrative gambling market in Sweden, but have failed. While Svenka Spel is doing quite well, there are rumors that the Swedish government is considering breaking up the monopoly and selling off Svenska Spel, opening the world of Swedish gambling to foreign interests.

If this happens, online gambling in Sweden will become a huge area of interest for foreign gambling companies, because while internet gambling is fully legal there, the Svenska Spel monopoly applies to the internet as well. In 2002 the Swedish government voted to allow Svenska Spel and Travoch Galopp operate on the internet. Sweden's online gambling portal currently offers everything from sports betting to poker, bingo, and lottery.

Pressure from the EU does not seem to be helping the situation. Recent talks in the Swedish government have considered IP blocking and other means of preventing foreign gambling websites from reaching Swedish players. This is all happening at the same time that Svenska Spel may be losing its grip on sports betting and other areas that have been monopolized for many years. The future of internet gambling in Sweden is very uncertain, but today the situation is still very relaxed, and Swedish players find it easy to gamble at foreign websites, and at the official Svenska Spel website too.

The Swedish Gaming Board has enacted a ban prohibiting any Swedish media outlet from showing advertising for foreign online casinos or other gaming operations. Just as with Germany's ban on all non-state sponsored Internet gambling, the move is designed to protect the state's gambling interests.

As a result of a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), that deemed Sweden and eight other EU members as having restrictive gaming legislation, Sweden is currently in the process of creating new online laws. It is keeping the online gaming monopoly, but will allow foreign operators in the sports betting market. Svenska Spel will keep its online monopoly for online horse race wagering and all other types of gaming. The sports betting concession is set for implementation in 2011.

About Sweden

Sweden, officially known as the Kingdom of Sweden, is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Oresund.

Sweden has an area of 450,295 square kilometers (173,860 square miles). It is the third largest country in the European Union by area, with a total population of about 9.4 million. Sweden has a low population density of 21 inhabitants per square kilometer with the population mostly concentrated to the southern half of the country. About 85% of the population live in urban areas.

Sweden's capital is Stockholm, with 1.3 million inhabitants also the largest city.