Swedish government proposes hike on gambling tax The Swedish government has recently announced more funding for the national gambling regulator.
The government plans to increase the tax on gross gambling revenue from the current 18 per cent.
Sweden.- The government has proposed an increase in the tax rate applied to gross gambling revenue in Sweden. If approved, the rate will rise from 18 per cent to 22 per cent from July 1, 2024.
The government estimates that the change would generate an extra SEK540m (€45.5m) in annual tax revenue. The government said it was proposing the change now since it believes the market has stabilised following the opening of regulated online gambling at the start of 2019.
The government said in a statement: “The current tax rate of 18 per cent has applied since the Swedish gambling market was re-regulated in 2019. The gambling market has since stabilised and channelisation has increased significantly. In addition, new measures to exclude unlicensed gambling from the Swedish market came into effect on 1 July 2023.
“The reasons for caution when setting the tax level should therefore not be as strong now as during the process of re-regulation. An increase from 18 per cent to 22 per cent is judged to be at a suitable level to strengthen the financing of government activities, without it leading to too great an impact on the companies and the size of the tax base.”
The online gaming industry association BOS has criticised the proposal and urged the government to reconsider. Secretary-general Gustaf Hoffstedt said: “The announcement from the government is deeply disappointing. Above all, it shows the government does not understand or has taken to heart what kind of market it is set to govern. Even less has the government understood the vulnerable position that market is in.”
BOS has previously warned that only 77 per cent of Sweden’s igaming market is channelised to licensed offerings, describing this “critically low”.
“Some gambling verticals, including online casino, are as low as 72 per cent,” Hoffstedt said. “The trend is also declining; in other words, the channelling decreases over time. We are already far from the state’s goal of at least 90 per cent channelisation. If this tax increase is approved by the Riksdag, we will soon be down to the channelisation we had before Sweden re-regulated its gambling market in 2019.”
Last week, the Swedish government announced plans to grant extra funding to the national gambling regulator Spelinspektionen for the next financial year. Its 2024 budget proposes that an extra SEK10.8m (€906,000) be allocated to help the regulator tackle the unlicensed market. This will be increased to SEK15.6m in 2025 and SEK18.6m in 2026.
The government said it expects Spelinspektionen to develop a closer working relationship with Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority for the funding to have benefits.