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Nordic iGambling markets are of a great interest to foreign gambling providers

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We have written a lot about the potential of the Scandinavian region for the development of online gambling, how it is expected to thrive the gamblers, as it has already proved its role in a gambling industry. Nevertheless, among the four Scandinavian countries – Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, only the last one undertook some steps to get rid of the issues preventing iGaming market from its legalization since 2012. The rest keeps the monopoly system dear, i.e. online gambling is still legally provided by state-owned organizations. The EU tries to make Sweden and Finland build online gambling legislative frameworks and to allow foreign gambling operators to apply for licenses.

Nordic iGambling markets are of a great interest to foreign gambling providers

But why is it believed in the potential of the Scandinavian gambling industry? There are three items that give reasons to believe in its profitability:

  • It is the birthplace of some of Europe’s biggest providers of gaming software. E.g., Betsson, NetEnt, Cherry AB, etc.
  • Gambling spending rates in these countries are among the highest in Europe. E.g., the Swidish annually spend about €237 per person.
  • This is the home of very tech-savvy people that are open to new innovative technology. Nordic people are among the heaviest Internet and mobile users on a global scale. As online gambling is closely connected with high technologies, this proves the profitability of this industry here.

But this is impossible to happen because of the current regulatory situation. Three Nordic countries do not believe that removing the monopoly system would be a good thing for their countries. However, the EU insists and Denmark shows a good example in legalizing the licensing process for foreign gambling providers.

Generally, the four Nordic countries are considered as one inseparable whole due to their language and culture similarities.But there are some particularities that can help us understand their attitude to iGaming.

Let’s look at the iGaming industry in each of the four countries and the measures taken to tackle the issues of legalizing online gaming.

DENMARK

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Denmark is a good example of benefits that liberal regulatory system, implemented since 2012, has brought. Due to the EU pressure and a number of igaming sites, offering services to the Danish residents, its authorities decided to take their part of profit receiving money from these sites. They issued a 9-page document as to igaming regulations in January 2012. After the liberalization of the country’s gambling industry, foreign operators were allowed to apply for a license to Spillemyndigheden.

Thanks to this break of the state-owned monopoly and a wider range of products offered, the increase in the gross gaming revenue followed. Compare: year 2012 – 2,045 (DKK million); year 2015 – 3,355.

Denmark proves to be a positive example of a balanced regulatory framework. But the country has offered strict and comprehensive provisions for the process of licensing and this gave them the way to regulate their igaming market in a relaxed and welcoming manner that turn Denmark into a desirable place for operators.

FINLAND

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This country still holds the monopoly system dear and has been scolded by the EU for this. There are three organizations responsible for online and land-based gambling in the country. They are RAY, Veikkaus Oy and Fitoto Oy. The first company deals with casinos, the second- with pari-mutuel betting, and the last one- with the national lottery industry.

Last year it was announced about the mergence of these three organizations for more effective operation. This mergence is supposed to be completed by the end of 2016 or early in 2017.

It is evident that the country is not going to change its policy in this regard and although the EU keeps criticizing it, they admit that these regulations did not contradict the EU general gambling framework.

NORWAY

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There are two state-owned companies in Norway that offer igaming entertainments – Norsk Rikstoto and Norsk Tipping. All other services offered by any other entity are considered illegal. The country’s gambling regulations are rather stringent. The authorities explained that they try to protect the vulnerable part of the population from gambling addiction.

As Norway is not the member of the EU, the country cannot be forced by European legislators or to be threaten by some measures.

SWEDEN

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Sweden seems to be the closest to open its online gambling market to foreign providers. But we doubt that this will happen soon.

The only entity to give gambling licenses is a state-owned Svenska Spel. And the licences are not issued to privately-owned operator. In this way the country tries to promote responsible gambling and to protect the residents from gaming addiction.

But Sweden is severely criticized by the EU about its way to offer igaming options. They even stated that it is “inconsistent with EU law.”

Swidish government promised to take some measures to introduce more liberal gambling regime and to open its market for new providers in 2018. In fall 2015 an inquiry as to the igaming industry in the country was held and the results are supposed to be announced towards the end of 2016 or early in 2017. So it is expected that an online gambling bill might be introduced late in 2017.

To sum up, we can say that the Scandinavian igaming market surely has a great potential and that is why it attracts the attention of international gambling operators. We cannot say when the three Nordic countries liberalize their gambling regulations. But all of them have everything needed to enjoy thriving iGaming markets.

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