Parties that make up a majority coalition in Sweden are ready to ditch the current gambling monopoly and introduce a new licensing system. The overhaul will be made to protect players and collect taxes from foreign operators, the coalition says.
A majority coalition in Sweden is ready to ditch the nation's current gambling monopoly and introduce a new liberated market based on licenses, Swedish daily di.se
The government-run Svenska Spel today holds a monopoly for offering online games to Swedish citizens, but lawmakers are now ready to replace this model with a license-based system to protect players and collect taxes from foreign operators, proponents of the proposal say.
"Half of the players online are playing on sites that are unregulated and today we do not take any responsibility for players who risk to end up with a gambling habit," said Andreas Carlsson, gaming policy spokesman for the Kristdemokraterna party.
"We therefore think that we should move away from the monopoly principle online and open a licensed market where we will have the possibility of setting up regulation standards and collect taxes," he added.
The inspiration for the change comes from neighboring Denmark, where a similar monopoly-based model was replaced by an open license-based market on January 1st, 2012.
The change has so far been a massive success in Denmark, where former monopoly holders Danske Spil now competes on even terms with a number of foreign licensed operators in a regulated market.
The Swedish proposal has been presented by Kristdemokraterna, but according to Carlsson the party has already secured support from its coalition partners to move ahead with the initiative.
"The parties in the alliance agree on the proposal. There is consensus either by vote or by decision from the boards to move ahead in this direction," he said.
An overhaul of the Swedish online gambling market would follow a number of similar changes in other European countries, including Estonia, Belgium, Denmark and Spain.