Why is gambling regulated in Sweden?
Gambling has many negative connotations like Jani Kinnunen said in the podcast. Gambling is hazardous, dangerous and risky. The gambling in Sweden and many other countries is today regulated. The Swedish parliament has decided that only certain actors are allowed in the Swedish gambling market. These actors are public benefit organizations (organize lotteries and bingo), the horse racing industry (ATG) and the Swedish state (AB Svenska spel). The gambling is regulated because it can lead to problems, not only for the individual but also for the general public. Gambling involves a risk of social and economic problems for the individual. The social costs of gambling are large. Millions of people suffer from gambling addictions all around the world. And upon that there are many crimes related to gambling.
Gambling is also regulated in Sweden because we have a gambling monopoly. Internet has created an alternative though, an unregulated market. The Swedish gambling monopoly can still prevent these companies from competing on the regulated Swedish market but it’s becoming more and more difficult. The main competitors of Svenska Spel on the unregulated market are for instant Expekt, Ladbrokes and Unibet.
The regulation of gambling started 1934 when a company called Tipstjänst got permission from the government to organize the Swedish gambling market. The reason to why it was created was that there was lots of illegal and uncontrolled gambling on sporting events. The Swedish government wanted to be able to control the gambling more. The Swedish gambling monopoly was created.
Through a regulated gambling market the negative effects of gambling (addictions and criminal behavior) are less likely to increase.
Another reason to why the gambling is regulated is because all the profit is used for welfare purposes.
In Sweden we do also have regulating paragraphs. It’s the Lotteries Act and the Casino Act. One paragraph prohibits companies which do not have gambling permission to market their products and services in Swedish media. Though a loophole in the paragraph make it possible for Unibet etc. to advertise and sponsor TV shows in channels that broadcasts from abroad. So there are many reasons to why we have a regulated gambling market here in Sweden and in many other countries in the world as well. I think it’s good that the market is regulated. I do indeed think that a deregulation would increase addiction.
People are risking more money than they can afford and get in huge depts. But the loophole in the paragraph, the unregulated market and the “one-click-on-the-mouse-and-you-can gamble” has made it much more difficult to keep the market regulated. Gamblers have become harder to please, especially when talking about sports betting.
For a gambler it’s quick and easy to compare prices between the different gambling sites. Gambling on the internet is growing fast.
It’s hard to regulate that market by national laws or monopolies, and I think it will be more and more difficult to regulate it too.
It’s not expensive and pretty easy to establish a gambling company on internet.
So I don’t know … maybe the right question to ask is “For how long will the Swedish gambling market be regulated?”