Gambling is a booming industry in Sweden, and it is legal. So long as you are 18, you can buy lottery tickets, make bets, play slot machines and play in brick and mortar and online casinos. A 2009 estimate placed Sweden’s gambling market fourth in the list of the largest in Europe. Being the only licensed authority in the country and running a monopoly on gambling through Svenska Spel sustained its growth since 1997.

Getting To know Svenska Spel

Svenska Spel is Sweden’s biggest gaming operator with a clear market share of about 48 to 50 percent. It was formed in 1997 with the merging of two foremost lottery companies in the country – Tipstjanst and Svenska Penninglotteriet. Since then, the whole industry has been held under its monopoly. It takes pride in professing responsible gambling and public stewardship.

Everything that makes bets and wagers in Sweden, it is Svenska Spels’ or it runs a competitor. It dips its fingers into numerous gambling brands including Triss, a popular scratch card game. Lottos, Poker, Bingo, Kino and online casinos, are all operated by Svenska Spel. It also owns more than 200 sites offering games in both English and Swedish opening opportunities for global gamblers to log in and play.

The Internet Gambling Scenario

Svenska Spel managed to control online gambling in the country, though there are over 250 sites based outside Sweden supporting software in Swedish currency and language. The existing laws are making it hard for locals to log in and play outside Sweden. Similarly, it is also difficult for other European Union members to come peddling their online casinos and gambling sites to Swedes. Foreigners who are interested to play with the locals are welcome to log in to any of the many Svenka Spel online sites.

The tight rein that Svenska Spel has over the online casinos in Sweden is preventing foreign operators from diving in, but a lot of them are interested if and when the government will let them. The government has articulated its intention to continue regulating the country’s online gambling market, but it has also expressed its plan to license foreign operators.

Reckoning with the European Union

If the monopoly is lining the pocket of the national treasury, what’s the reason behind the government’s change of heart? Sweden naturally wants a status quo, but with nearly 8 million members in its audience, it is a low lying fruit ripe for European Union members. It is believed that Sweden will soon yield to the pressures and open up its doors to welcome other big online gambling operators. Until then, the Swedish gambling market is firmly locked for the government to enjoy the remaining days of its monopoly.