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Sweden had long been held up as one of the freest countries in the world for online gambling. Players could essentially sign up and play at any major casinos they saw fit. Provided those domains were licensed out of another EU member site, then gameplay was legal. It was a great system. Then, the Swedes changed it.

As of January 1, 2019, Sweden’s online gambling industry is strictly regulated. While many have praised the changes, as they ensure that robust rules and regulations are in place to prevent problem gambling, there have been several negative side effects which have ruined the experience for many.

The Creation of the Swedish Gambling Authority

Under European Union rules, as long as a casino is licensed out of another EU member state, then any other EU country must allow their nationals to play in that casino. It is all linked with the single market and the movements of goods and services. However, many EU countries have chosen to flout those rules of late, and Sweden is just the latest member to do so.

On January 1, 2019, the newly created Swedish Gambling Authority started issuing licenses to casino operators. It was the first of many changes which would revolutionise the Swedish online gambling industry, and not always in a good way.

All Sites Must Now Hold Swedish Licenses

As of 2019, any casino operator who wishes to offer their services to players in the Scandinavian country must apply for a license from the Swedish Gambling Authority. Merely holding a permit in another EU member state is not enough for Sweden, though again, it is under EU law.

Any operator which doesn’t hold a current license from the SGA can, in theory, be prosecuted for offering gameplay to Swedish nationals and those residing in the country. The demand for permits is high, and the Swedish Gambling Authority has already handed out quite a few licenses, but like everything administrative in Sweden, progress in slow.

Negative Aspects of the New Regulations

While many have praised Sweden’s new rules for tackling problem gaming, problems have also arisen from the change, and they can make players’ lives rather miserable. Some casino sites (which are waiting for licenses) have been temporarily blacklisted, locking players out of their accounts. Most Swedish licensed casinos now only offer gameplay in Sweden, so foreign nationals living in the country are forced to play games in a language they may not yet understand.

Worse still, Swedish casinos now only accept two or three payment methods. A BankID account is required (and needs to be verified) before players can deposit and withdraw, while most international payment methods are now forbidden, too. The days of anonymous depositing at casinos are seemingly over since BankID keeps an account of all transactions. E-wallet withdrawals are now virtually prohibited at many sites.

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The language and payment method barriers are gradually starting to be overcome at some of the bigger Swedish online casinos (which already have SGA licenses), so there may be light at the end of the tunnel for players in the country. However, as the trend for national permits and regulations continues across the EU, it may be time for players who reside outside of Sweden to find a new casino to play at which is licensed out of their country.

The Keighley News encourages readers to gamble responsibly. For advice and information, please visit the BeGambleAware website here for free, confidential help.