Bet365, GVC Holdings, LeoVegas among First Companies to Receive Swedish Gambling License

Bet365, LeoVegas, and several GVC Holdings brands lead the way into Sweden’s newly regulated online gambling market

The Swedish gambling authority, Lotteriinspektionen today announced the names of the first 16 approved candidates for a license for the operation of online gaming and betting services in Sweden’s re-organized gambling market.

The country’s government approved its new gambling law earlier this year, thus ending the long-standing monopoly system and clearing the path for international gambling companies to apply for a license from the local regulator and operate in a regulated environment. The new law is set to take effect on January 1, 2019. From that day on, unlicensed gaming and betting operations will be strictly prohibited and penalized by Lotteriinspektionen, which will soon change its name to Spelinspektionen in line with the new regulations.

Lotteriinspektionen launched the license application process on August 1, inviting interested international companies to submit their applications as early as possible for a chance to be among the first ones to be issued licenses. The gaming regulator said in a statement from earlier today that it has received 95 applications so far. However, it pointed out that the number of applications did not correspond to the number of companies that have submitted those as there have been companies to have applied for several different types of licenses.

The 16 approve licensees will be able to commence operations in the country’s newly regulated market from January 1, 2019.

Who Was Awarded a Swedish License?

Aside from Svenska Spel, the state-run monopoly, and several more Swedish gambling businesses that have been operating in the country for a while, a number of major international companies were, too, granted licenses from Lotteriinspektionen.

British gambling giant bet365 was issued two licenses by Lotteriinspektionen, one for the provision of online casino games and the other for sports betting. Betsson Nordic, Casumo, GVC Holdings’ online gambling brands bwin, partypoker, and partycasino, and LeoVegas were also among the foreign gambling companies to have been given the green light to operate in the country. It should be noted that they have all been part of Sweden’s thriving gray market for years now.

Lotteriinspektionen said today that more announcements in relation to the re-organization of the local market are on the way. The regulator also pointed out that it has granted and will be granting licenses with a shorter period of validity than the maximum of five years, saying that decision was based on the fact that some of the applications came from companies with previous violations in the Swedish gaming space.

Sweden’s gambling market grew 1.2% during the first three quarters of the year to SEK16.785 billion (approx. $1.8 billion). And according to data from Lotteriinspektionen, its unregulated sector was the main driver of growth during the reviewed period. Unlicensed operators generated revenue of SEK4.546 billion (approx. $500 million), up 12.4% year-on-year. In comparison, the country’s regulated market still held the largest market share, but revenue from regulated operations dropped 2.4% during the first three quarters of the year to SEK12.239 billion (approx. $1.3 billion).

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