The Swedish government is redoubling its efforts to drive out unlicensed online gambling operators from its shores of Gambling Market.
Re-regulation of the market back in 2019 had immediate success. Still, authorities recognize the requirement to further clamp down on illegal operations to ensure the government and its citizens reap all the rewards that statewide licensing can bring. That’s why the government is proposing a further regulatory reform in 2023.
The success of re-regulation in Sweden is shining a light on similar territories around the world that are yet to embrace online gambling legislation and all the benefits it brings. India, in particular, continues to deal with increasingly complex and out-of-date laws that appear to hinder the growth of an industry and the safety of bettors.
What can India learn from Sweden’s introduction of a government-led gambling authority?
Players Prefer To Play In Legal And Licensed Casinos
All the evidence of Swedish re-regulation points to players preferring a safe and secure online betting environment to the murky waters of grey and black market operations.
Indeed, after the Swedish government decided to liberalize the online gambling market, thousands of players returned to the security of Swedish Gambling Association (SGA) jurisdiction. Under the state monopoly model, there were few destinations for Swedish citizens to gamble, meaning bettors would look elsewhere in murkier waters. Post-regulation, an abundance of online casinos and sports betting sites compete for business, ensuring a race-to-the-top mentality.
There Are Many Net Positives To Legalising Gambling
One study by ENV Media, titled Off-Shore Gambling Licenses And Regulated Markets, believes gambling regulation can have wide-ranging, positive consequences.
“Gambling prohibition has largely shown to be unfeasible in the long run. Complete liberalization, however, also comes along with a number of equivocal impacts on social and economic stability. While there are states on both ends of the spectrum, the role of a national-level stance on balancing these benefits and risks is beyond doubt.”
Referencing the legislative landscape of online betting in India, the paper surmises: “India is a particularly emblematic case of similarly impending regulatory needs. The prohibition of betting is widely seen to have been ineffective. In such contexts, certain authority recommendations cannot be overlooked. The Committee on Reforms in Cricket (in 2015), the Law Commission of India (in 2018), and recent court judgments (including by the Supreme Court) have suggested that betting should be regulated and taxed.”
The study also makes a strong case as to the net positives of regulation: “The key reasons to regulate the gambling market aim to transform risks and missed opportunities into public benefits and a better-controlled environment:
- An important existing industry is exposed to risks;
- The public interest has much to gain from taxes, consumer protection, and job creation;
- Sector transparency will stimulate stable investor interest;
- The ability to eliminate undesirable effects is enhanced by supervisory agencies, monitoring tools, and information campaigns.
Tackling India’s Sports Betting Black Markets
A significant issue with the underground betting culture in India is the impact it can have on its prized sporting exports – not least the Indian Premier League (IPL).
In 2015, multiple instances of match-fixing led to the suspension of the Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals for two years. The situation was highly damaging to the IPL brand and for Indian sports in general – its reputation is yet to fully recover.
A wide-reaching, state-regulated gambling authority would make it much harder for corruption to infiltrate the most prominent sports.
Legalizing gambling in India would also allow the best betting sites in India to establish trust with its players and the authorities.
History of Gambling In Sweden
Up Until 2018…
Online gambling was made legal in 2002, but Swedish authorities bought the industry under the state monopoly, meaning only state-owned casinos could operate in the country.
The lack of diversity in the online gambling landscape, alongside the looser regulations of other territories, meant the country was losing its revenue stream to the grey and black market casinos.
The headlines of the new legislation included:
- All actors must obtain a Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) license to operate in Sweden, regardless of operator locale.
- The maximum license term is five years, and licenses will be granted by the SGA.
- An 18% tax on companies offering commercial gaming
- To play online, customers must be 18 years of age or older. To play at a land-based casino, they must be 21+.
The new laws provided several benefits that the Swedish government previously failed to capitalize on, including a safer environment for Swedish players and increasing taxation income.