Online gaming is permitted in Sweden under the control of the Swedish state and its agencies. Svenska Spel and ATG (AB Trav och Galopp, the Swedish Racing Totalizator Board) currently hold a monopoly over the online gaming market. They are authorized to offer lotteries, casino games, bingo, poker, and sports and horse wagering via the Internet and mobile devices. Foreign operators are prohibited from offering their services in the country.
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 was set for implementation in 2011.
In April 2011, Sweden’s Supreme Court ruled that the game of Texas Hold’em could be a game of skill or a game of chance depending on the format of the game. The court upheld the view that skill is required in tournament poker. The ruling has raised questions about the taxation of poker winnings. When played outside the European Union or European Economic Area, poker winnings are taxed at 30%. With remote gaming available in Alderney and Isle of Man (considered non-EEA), the winnings are tax free. Winnings from poker when the game is considered to be a game of skill fall under "professional" income under Swedish law and can be taxed as personal income up to 50%.
In January 2013, Sweden’s Prime Minister announced plans to submit a proposal to Parliament later in the year pertaining to new online gambling legislation based upon recommendations provided by the National Audit Office in 2012. The new proposal will establish a new regulatory framework to regulate and license Internet gambling as well as address problem/addictive gambling issues. State-controlled Svenska Spel is one of a few authorized gambling providers and the only licensed operator since 2005 to offer poker to Swedish residents. Swedish players are required to set a daily “budget” and set a maximum number of hours of play time. Svenska Spel also offers sports betting, bingo, and casino games; however, they are unable to compete with foreign operators offering enticing payouts and product offerings.
The Swedish Tax Agency imposed additional taxes on Net Entertainment for approximately 92.1 million Swedish Kroner. Net Entertainment has appealed against the ruling.
The Swedish government has announced legislation to regulate and license online gambling will be brought forth in 2013 based on recommendations by the National Audit Office which conducted a study in 2012. The statement was signed by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister indicating the matter will move forward. A complete proposal for a regulatory system would be introduced to Parliament for discussion. The government is looking at a mid-year deadline for the proposal and implementation by 2014.
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Sweden Jurisdiction News
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