This week it was revealed that Sweden's government is looking at raising the taxation rate for gambling, jumping the total to 22% from the current 18% on gross gaming revenues.
The proposal will have to be approved of by the various tiers of government in Sweden, with a date of effect of July 1st, 2024. The body, which is known as Regeringen, says that such as move could generate an additional SEK540 million in tax revenue for various programs annually. Regeringen says that the time is ripe for the change, as the betting market should have stabilised since the government liberalised the market in 2019.
The proposal will go through the legal process and will be subject to debate and voting before it can be implemented.
In a statement, a government spokesperson said, "The current tax rate of 18% has applied since the Swedish gambling market was reregulated in 2019. The gambling market has since stabilised and channelisation has increased significantly. In addition, measures have been taken to exclude unlicensed gambling from the Swedish market, which 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 reregulation. An increase from 18% to 22% 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."
As expected, the news isn't sitting well within the gambling industry, as the Online Gaming Industry Association trade body has vehemently voiced its displeasure. In a statement, the body's secretary general Guftaf 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.
"We were recently able to show that channelisation in the Swedish gambling market is 77%. Some gambling verticals, including online casino, are as low as 72%. 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% channelisation. If this tax increase is approved by the Riksdag, we will soon be down to the channelisation we had before Sweden reregulated its gambling market in 2019. A reregulation that took place because Sweden had such a low channelisation at the time.
"Sweden's government must perform much better than this. There is still time to withdraw the proposal."