Sweden issues first batch of new online gambling licenses


sweden-new-online-gambling-licensesSweden has issued its first batch of new online gambling licenses, and their recipients include some obvious selections and some notable omissions.

On Friday, the Lotteriinspektionen regulatory body – which will rebrand as Spelinspektionen in the new year – announced the first 16 recipients of new Swedish online gambling licenses, which will formally become active on January 1, 2019. (View the full list here.)

Lotteriinspektionen director-general Camilla Rosenberg celebrated Friday’s news as “a historic day for the game,” while praising her staff for laboring “under severe pressure” to process the 95 gambling license applications – 70 of which are for online operations – it has received since the application window opened on August 1.

The new licensees include the state-run former gambling monopolies Svenska Spel and AB Trav & Galopp (ATG), both of which have been furiously inking supplier deals so they can finally offer the online casino products they were denied under Sweden’s previous regulatory regime.

Also making the grade are a number of internationally licensed but Swedish-run online gambling operators, including the Kindred Group (which will operate using several of its brands, including Unibet and Maria), mobile casino specialists LeoVegas and Betsson (which also snagged licenses for its Nordicbet and Sverigeautomaten brands).

Other familiar names celebrating on Friday include Bet365, Casumo, GVC Holdings’ Bwin and PartyGaming brands, Interwetten, Skill On Net, SuprPlay Ltd and Tombola.

Some of these operators – Casumo, GVC and LeoVegas – received licenses with two-year terms, while the others received the standard five-year duration. Rosenberg said these were cases “where we estimate that we need to follow the company extra carefully,” in part due to “past offenses in other markets.”

All three of the operators receiving two-year licenses have been fined by the UK Gambling Commission this year for various transgressions. Casumo was fined only the day before for failing to protect customers from gambling harm, while LeoVegas and GVC were penalized for misleading advertising and bonus offers.

While most of the online gambling world’s heavy-hitters have applied for Swedish licenses, many of these names were conspicuously absent from Friday’s roster. Lotteriinspektionen operations manager Patrik Gustavsson said the remaining license applicants would likely learn their fates “over the next few weeks, depending on the complexity of the case.”