Swedens neighbour Denmark, has already reregulated it’s gaming/gambling industry. Hence the Danish regulator, Birgitte Sand, Director of Spillemyndigheten in Denmark, is a keynote speaker at the 10th i-Gaming Forum in Stockholm on 17th-18th April 2018.
But it is of course the Swedish regulator, Lotteriinspektionen and it’s Director General Camilla Rosenberg, that will be at the the helm of things here in Sweden.
With this in mind, the i-Gaming Forum editorial director Robert Okpu, asked Lotteriinspektionen, via it’s Director General Camilla Rosenberg, some very direct questions about the expected Swedish reregulation on 1 January 2019.
He got some very direct answers, too.
Many points in the Q & A below, will be of course discussed at the i-Gaming Forum at Berns Salonger on 17th – 18th April 2018.
And, yes, Camilla Rosenberg also agrees that “The timeline is tight”…
Q: How does Lotteriinspektionen regard the whole referral process so far? Do you have any general opinion on the number of referral answers and/or the quality level of the referral answers?
A: Lotteriinspektionen has from a particular task in the authorities “appropriation directions”, provided material to the one-man enquiry committee. For amongst other things, technical regulations.
We have not been involved in the actual referral process apart from the authority sending in a referral to the government, just like other entities and authorities that are affected by the one man enquiry committees proposal.
The referrals are sent in to – and handled by – the government office (“Regeringskansliet”).
Q: IF Swedish parliament (“Riksdagen”) this summer, as everyone is expecting votes for reregulation – by 1 January 2019 – will Lotteriinspektionen have everything in place by that date?
Is it a misunderstanding that some people in the gaming/gambling industry here, see the whole timeframe for this (during the rest of 2018) as quite tight?
A: We have planned to be on time with what is needed, with everything from IT support, to new processes. But we have not got any more resources from the government for Lotteriinspektionen. We are ready to commence with recruitment of new staff. The time frame itself is nothing that Lotteriinspektionen can influence. It is the government and the parliament (Riksdag) that prepares law proposals and decides on new laws.
– But I agree that the time frame is tight, both for us as an authority and for the stakeholders in the gaming/gambling industry. The reregulation will take time, and everything will not be done on day one. Many of the operators and others, that want to apply for a license, are already into their preparations. Based on the governments proposal for new legislation, referred to lagrådet (“the Council on Legislation”) for consideration.
Q: IF the reregulation gets the expected parliamentary majority, is the start date 1 January 2019 “carved in stone”? Or is it more important that all pieces are in place? (lex for example “Obama-care” in USA, where the start date in itself was so important, that it was “rolled out” to early).
A: It is the government and parliament (“Riksdagen”) that set the start date for the new law, but the proposal is that Lotteriinspektionen should start going through license applications from July 1 this year.
Everything depends on when parliament (“Riksdagen”) decides on a new gaming/gambling law. On when the governments regulations take effect, and when the governments regulations are enforced. Hence, when the Lotteriinspektionen regulations can be enforced in their turn.
– It will be a a domino effect… in Sweden we say “ Katten på råttan, råttan på repet…” etc
Who then gets a license and from what date, depends on the quality of the applications and when we (Lotteriinspektionen) get them.
Q: WHEN and IF Sweden reregulates: is it possible to point at the most important points, that examples from the Danish reregulation can help us with?
A: Our assumption now, is that there will be a reregulation. There is some knowledge and some experiences, from the Danish reregulation that we have taken into account. But most of all, the one man enquiry committee has considered these things, and written the proposal, taking into consideration what has worked and what has not worked in Denmark.
Q: How do you look at harness racing/flat racing – and a proposed suggestion of an extra tax here (“potential levy to the horse racing industry, and other sports bodies”)
A: We do not have any particular opinion, regarding only trotting and flat racing… or suggestions about taxes or levys here. The responsible government minister (Minister for Public Administration) has said that this will be taken into consideration. So I will refer to what he has said, about the government wanting to help to protect the horseracing industry.
Q: How does Lotteriinspektionen asses applications from non-gaming companies? For example media enterprises or others, that have a large customer base online – and that POSSIBLY want to start gaming operations?
A: We will do a comprehensive assessment of both the application, and the enterprise or organisation behind it. The same rules will apply to all companies, regardless of the vertical, that is their core business today.
Q: Is there anything decided regarding the number of licenses, that will eventually be allocated? And what is the most important criteria when applying for a license? Apart from the will or capacity, to pay the proposed 18 per cent tax rate?
A: There is no limit to the number of licenses that can be allocated. The applicants must meet a number of requirements, that will be decided in detail through a regulation from the government, that will be a complement to the law that parliament (“Riksdagen”) is voting on, and in regulation from us. Generally speaking, important specifications are that the gaming operation is serious, that customer protection is high and security is good. The new “duty of care” (“omsorgsplikten”) is also a central principle in the reform.
The taxes are a question for the tax authorities.
Q: Is there any STATEMENT or CLARIFICATION that Lotterinspektionen wants to do, around the process concerning the reregulation of the Swedish gaming/gambling market?
A: That we are waiting the final decision from the government and the parliament (“Riksdagen)”, because it’s only then we know what is decided. We are right now working towards a goal that is shifting, and we don’t know exactly how the gaming/gambling law will finally look like. Right now the proposal (for new legislation) is referred to lagrådet (“the Council on Legislation”) for consideration and the proposed gaming / gambling law has been sent to the EU för notification.
There is a very clear division of responsibility, between the parliament, the government och our authority. Where Lotteriinspektionen will do it’s best, given the prerequisites we have, for the reform to succeed.
It is important to note that there will be a re-evaluation of the reform done, during the first three years after the law has been enforced.
In that way we will be able to rectify things that did not turn out as expected, or change things that can just be improved upon.