Gambling in Sweden is said to have begun with the Vikings, when disagreements between the Swedes and the Norwegians were supposedly handled with a roll of the dice. The current gaming law framework in Sweden is clear and encouraging.
Below, you’ll find a breakdown of the gambling laws in Sweden.
Casino Games and Their Regulatory Status
Sweden has a reputation for being liberal when it comes to gambling, but the country’s first comprehensive gambling laws didn’t take effect until 2019.
Gambling for money or anything of monetary worth (including tangible products such as those found at fairs) is illegal in Sweden as of January 1, 2019. Any behavior not specifically permitted by the law is illegal since it serves as a prohibitory framework.
Companies seeking to provide various forms of gambling to inhabitants of Sweden are required by law to get the appropriate licenses before doing so. The Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) is the licensing organization responsible for controlling and regulating both land-based and online gambling in Sweden.
It is illegal for unauthorized operators to market or advertise to Swedish players or provide gambling services to Swedish residents. Let’s examine the different ways in which Sweden’s gaming regulations can be put to use.
The Swedish Gambling Authority is the government agency in charge of overseeing and issuing gambling licenses for casino games like roulette, blackjack, and online slots. Thus, the country is home to numerous land-based casinos, all of which set their minimum age requirement for patrons at twenty.
Many online Swedish casinos are also licensed to provide their services to Swedish citizens. These can be wholly owned and operated in Sweden, or they can be owned by a foreign entity with a local representation and Swedish servers.
Several establishments in Sweden provide cash poker games, as poker is a popular pastime there. There are now just four casinos in Sweden that are legally allowed to provide poker; these are located in the cities of Stockholm, Malmo, and Sundsvall.
Unlicensed sites are not permitted to provide poker games in Sweden, however many licensed online casinos do. Licensed operators can offer casino-style and tournament/cash game formats of online poker to locals.
Bingo in Sweden takes the form of both charity games and those conducted in casinos or other brick-and-mortar establishments, as is the case in many other countries. The Swedish Gambling Authority offers licenses to businesses who want to provide bingo games to Swedish citizens.
Bingo, on the other hand, is not widely played among the elderly in the United States. Younger generations increasingly prefer playing at drive-ins than traditional bingo rooms or online gambling sites. The game is also commonly played on December 24th.
The Swedish Gambling Authority oversees both traditional brick-and-mortar lotteries and their digital counterparts in the country. Land-based lotteries may still require municipal consent in specific circumstances.
There are a number different lotteries in Sweden, but by far the most popular is the Lotto, which features the primary game, Lotto 1, and an extra game, Lotto 2. Every Wednesday and Saturday, Swedes can play for a chance at a massive jackpot in the Swedish Lotto.
A portion of the proceeds from the Swedish Postcode Lottery are given to charities that work to improve the world. Land-based operators and other online lottery providers both offer real money online lottery games.
Games of Skill and Company
Games of skill and social interaction are not covered under the Swedish Gambling Act and are therefore exempt from the law’s licensing requirements. But that’s because there’s no real prize money up for grabs. Besides the fact that it typically involves persons under the legal gambling age of 18, this puts skin gambling in the crosshairs and makes it illegal. While players are not directly targeted by the law, those who facilitate illegal gambling may face penalties including fines and jail time.
Legality of Sports Betting in Sweden
Sports betting, both offline and online, is considered legal gambling in Sweden, with bookmakers needing a license from the Swedish Gambling Authority to legally offer their services.
There are many brick-and-mortar betting establishments where citizens can lawfully place wagers on sporting events including football and horse racing. However, a human cashier, not an automated machine, must do these tasks. When it comes to legal, regulated online sportsbooks, Swedes have a few options.
Further laws prohibiting various kinds of sports betting was introduced as a response to continued match-fixing allegations. One such behavior that is illegal in Sweden is spread betting. It’s also important to note that betting on fantasy sports, esports, and virtual sports is perfectly allowed in Sweden.
Maximum Gambling Age Set at 21
Players in Sweden must be at least 18 years old, per the country’s gambling rules. In addition, the legal gambling age in Sweden is set at twenty.
Each month, gambling establishments in Sweden must fork over 18% of their total monthly gross revenue as required by Swedish law. Gambling establishments must pay a variety of licensing and regulatory costs.
Gambling Legislation in Sweden: A Brief History
Legend has it that dice were used to settle many disputes between Sweden and Norway back in the Viking era, when gambling first began in Sweden. The state lottery Penninglotteriet was established in 1897, marking the beginning of legally sanctioned gambling in the country. In 1923, betting on horses became permitted, in 1934, sports pools, and in 1979, the Lotto was introduced.
Online gambling had a different path to regulation than land-based gaming, which was legalized in 1994. For over two decades, citizens could only use the services of two state-owned enterprises for online betting. Because of this, many Swedes have joined illegitimate online gambling sites in search of more betting possibilities.
The Swedish Gambling Act, which came into effect in 2019, effectively shattered the monopoly and opened the market to private enterprises, and was rapidly adopted to fix the situation.
The Nuts and Bolts of Swedish Online Gambling Laws
As long as operators have licenses from the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen, all types of gambling are lawful in Sweden. With a few notable exclusions, such as spread betting and gambling on events when the majority of players are under the age of 18, gambling is generally legal in all jurisdictions.
You should also know that online casinos are only permitted to offer special online casino bonuses to new players making their first real money wager.