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Sweden to Reform Gambling Legislation

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and Peter Norman, minister for financial markets, said they’ll act upon recommendations made by the National Audit Office (Riskrevisionen) in June 2012, and “return to Parliament with a proposal in order to establish a well-functioning regulatory framework.”

The government has expressed concerns over Swedish players flocking to unregulated sites, and maintaining low levels of problem gambling.

Under the current system, where state-controlled Svenska Spel is the only licensed poker operator, the “widespread and growing” illegal gambling market is more attractive to players because it offers better payouts and a broader product range.

Problem gambling hasn’t reached troubling levels yet, but over a ten-year period, around 2% of the Swedish population has developed addictive habits. As a result, the government has requested the Swedish Gaming Board to make proposal to minimize the risk of addictive gambling. Reinfeldt has also urged the National Board of Health and Welfare to submit suggestions to create a centralized system to detect and treat problem gambling.

The government has pledged to publish proposed legislation by May 31, 2013 at the latest, and we’ll likely see a new regulatory regime some time next year. Immediately following the release of the Riskrevisionen report, Reinfeldt and Norman hinted that the government would seek to introduce legislation before the end of the parliamentary term in 2014.

A more open, progressive market will be welcomed. The report revealed that Sweden’s  gambling market is in decline: while nearly 90% of the population gambled in some form between 1997 and 1998, only 70% made wagers from 2008 to 2009.

“If gaming policy is not implemented in a consistent and systematic way in the light of the objective to be achieved, there is a risk that this is contrary to the criteria for regulation in the European Union Treaty which may also result in gambling policy not working in an efficient and expedient manner,” it added.


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