It’s good news for people living in Sweden… both offline and online gambling are legal if done with licenced and regulated providers.
Before you take a look at online betting sites for Swedish players we’ve got a run though of the key facts you need to know about gambling law in the country. Read it first to make sure you aren’t breaching any rules or legislation.
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Both offline and online gambling legal in Sweden.
Must have licence to offer services to Swedish citizens.
Only officially licenced provider is Svenska Spel.
Use of unlicenced overseas providers not illegal for players.
Foreign based gambling and betting sites popular in the country.
Law & Legislation Timeline: Gambling
The legal situation in Sweden regarding gambling is both simple and yet restrictive due to how the government has applied its laws in practice. The following timeline should explain this fully by describing the country’s main pieces of gambling legislation:
1994 – Lotteries Act
The Swedish Lotteries Act passed in 1994 regulates the organisation and operation of lotteries and other related games of chance in Sweden. The act places full authority for the granting of licences to operate such activities into the hands of the Gaming Board of Sweden and to date they have only issued one such licence – to Svenska Spel. Under the auspices of the act, that same organisation also has a monopoly over sports betting in Sweden.
1999 – Casinos Act
Five years after the passage of the Lotteries Act, a similar act known as the Casinos Act was passed to regulate and organise the running of casino games in Sweden. The act related largely to land-based casinos and set out age limits, prohibitions on issuing credit to gamblers, rules for keeping records, and a variety of other regulations. It also gave the Gaming Board the same authority to grant licences, which it applied in exactly the same manner.
2002 – Lotteries Act Amendment
The original 1994 Lotteries Act was amended in 2002, largely in order to bring it up to date and to make it relevant to online gambling. Essentially, the amendment ensured that Svenska Spel’s monopoly extended fully into the online sphere.
2010s (to date) – Legal Challenges
Throughout the 2010s there have been a number of challenges, including those from the European Union, regarding the legality of Sweden’s state sponsored gambling monopoly. These have largely failed, however, in the face of the government’s argument that the monopoly was in fact reasonable and proportional.
That argument goes that by protecting the monopoly, the authorities are also protecting players from malicious platforms and limiting the potential social harm that gambling could cause. The next major challenge to the monopoly, however, is expected to come from the European Court of Justice and could deliver the first major defeat for the Swedish authorities.
Do Players Get Taxed On Winnings?
The Swedish government’s attitude toward the taxation of gambling winnings is very much an extension of their overall policy of protecting their state sponsored gambling monopoly.
As such, winnings from Svenska Spel operated establishments and websites or from organisations based in the EU are not liable for taxation. Winnings earnt from online gambling operators based outside of the EU, meanwhile, can lead to exorbitant tax bills. Taxation rates on such winnings, in fact, can be anywhere from 30% to 53%.
Online Deposit Options & Methods
Swedish punters using the fully licensed Svenska Spel online gambling services have a full range of choices when it comes to depositing their cash, and need not worry about any legal or taxation issues.
Players who may use overseas based sites, also, are not doing anything illegal but are potentially liable for large amounts of tax on their winnings. As such, they often choose to deposit using e-wallet services or other methods which provide a degree of privacy. In the end, however, this doesn’t often produce a great deal of benefit as the Swedish Tax Authority is very efficient at collecting gambling tax.