September 05, 2008

Sweden will propose sports betting legislation in December

The head of the Swedish inquiry commission on gambling (Spelutredningen) has confirmed that it will propose a licensing system for foreign sports betting operators when it reports its findings to the Swedish government this December.

Jan Nyren confirmed this to Swedish media yesterday and said casino and slot games would not be licensed under the proposals as they presented more risk of problem gambling, while no decision had yet been taken regarding online poker and other gaming products.

The legislative move is seen as a way for Sweden to avoid further actions form the European Court of Justice, which has already sent reasoned opinions and threatened it with infringement proceedings.

Peter Alling, one of the secretaries of the inquiry commission, added: “Sports betting licensing will be proposed to the government and gaming (poker and other games) remains open to further investigation. We haven’t decided on what the tax rate will be (for the sports betting companies); whether it will be on total turnover or on their gross gaming revenues.”

Alling added that the commission’s duty was to find a system that allowed operators to work in a well-balanced environment. He said: “The task given to the inquiry is to create a legislation that will stand in the long run, but of course, with the constantly-changing system, such a consistent system must have a built-in flexibility. So there will be a system, but it will have the possibility to change should it need to.”

Alling said he was confident the commission would come up with a proposal that would work for all parties and praised the attitude of the private operators. “They have been very collaborative, we have met many of them over the past year and they have been very helpful in setting out their vision for the future of the market and what their needs are. We have learnt a great deal from them and the input has been very constructive on both sides,” he said.

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