While covering the Scandinavian region alongside the kingdoms of Norway and Denmark, Sweden has the third-largest European Union area. Among its innumerable features as a country is the fact that it is the origin of many well-known authors (Selma Lagerlöf as a prime example). Also, Sweden played a significant part in the pioneering of cinema.
There are enormous palaces, canals, cirques, inland lakes, coniferous forests and timberlands, parks, and waterfront islands. Besides, Sweden is home to the Väderöarna archipelago, the medieval town of Gamla Stan, the Skansen open-air zoo and museum, the port city of Gothenburg, the Viking village of Vikingabyn, the Icehotel in the Jukkasjärvi municipality, and many others. Swedish gambling industry is not quite impressive because of its strict state monopoly but the gambling atmosphere is as fluid as water.
In Sweden, the first pari-mutuel betting on horse racing occurred in 1814 and a horse racing organization was established in 1831. In 1934, Tipstjänst (the Tip Service) was created as the first Swedish regulatory body and was aimed at regulating horse racing and monitoring illegal gambling. Nine years later, the Swedish government acquired the body and consequently made gambling a state monopoly.
However, the first appearance of a form of gambling in Sweden was in 1715, when a special lottery was conceded to fund the creation of a base plate for the present statue at Gustav Adolf Square in Stockholm. From there, a number of lotteries were organized for special purposes within the country.
This continued until April 1771, when the then-King of Sweden, Gustav III, sponsored the creation of Kungliga Nummerlotteriet (the Royal Number Lottery). The lottery’s first draw was in May 1773 and was active until it was later abolished in 1841 for moral reasons. (In December 1840, the last draw – 1143rd – took place.) Lottery games still existed in the country despite the fact that there was no legal operator; instead, German, Hungarian, and Danish lotteries sold tickets and scratch cards to Swedes.
By 1897, cash prizes were being organized to raise funds for the Nordiska Museet (Nordic Museum) and the General Arts and Industry Exhibition in Stockholm following the creation of the Money Lottery. Similarly, the lottery was used in 1914 and 1923 to raise funds for the Baltiska Utställningen (Baltic Exhibition) and the Göteborg Utställningen (Göteborg Exhibition), respectively.
The lottery was fully licensed in 1938 following a number of motions in the Swedish Parliament and became Svenska Penninglotteriet AB (Svenska Penninglotteriet Aktiebolag) as a state monopoly to operate a variety of lottery games. The operation of lottery games started in 1939 with a capital of SEK 100,000. A whopping revenue of SEK 3.8 billion and surplus of SEK 1.6 million was generated in 1993. The surplus was utilized for public, cultural and social developments.
Ironically, Svenska Penninglotteriet AB was merged together with Tipstjänst in 1997 (exactly, a century from the creation of the Money Lottery) to form state-owned gambling operator AB Svenska Spel. In 1999, AB Svenska Spel received a license to operate six casinos in Sweden. The company created Casino Cosmopol which opened its first casino in Sundsvall on July 1, 2001. On December 8 of the same year, its second casino opened in Malmö. The third casino opened on August 31, 2002, in Gothenburg while the fourth and last casino opened on March 13, 2003, in Stockholm.
Similar to other European territories, Casino Cosmopol is a state monopoly and the only company licensed to operate a casino within the length and breadth of Sweden. The company transfers all its revenues to the Swedish National Treasury (under Finansdepartementet, the Ministry of Finance).
Further, AB Svenska Spel launched a gambling website on March 30, 2006, which offers sports betting, bingo, poker, and a number of lottery games. And Swedes are allowed to gamble on offshore gambling websites offering any of the legal gambling activities licensed within the European Economic Area – but this became legal very recently.
Pertaining the legal characteristic of gambling in Sweden, all forms of gambling have been legal, licensed, regulated, and monitored for a while now. In fact, there are more than 50 forms of gambling specifically stated in the gambling laws of the country. Rare gambling activities such as sighthounds racing are legal. The first Act – the Gaming Machines Act – was approved in 1982 and the most recent Act – the Casino Act – was approved in 1999, which emphasizes the monopoly of AB Svenska Spel as the ‘only’ casino operator within the country.
The ATG (Swedish Jockey Club) is the Horse Racing Company of Sweden and was founded in 1974. The state-owned private company operates a number of games such as V75, V64, V86, V65, GS75, V3, V4, V5, Dagens Dubbel, Trio, Top 7, Lunch Dubbel, Tvilling, Komb, Harry Boy, VR, Raket, Plats, V&P, and Vinnare. Summarily, the ATG deals with fixed-odds and pari-mutuel horse racing betting while AB Svenska Spel deals with all other gambling activities.
Additionally, there is a regulatory body in Sweden – Lotteriinspektionen (the Swedish Gambling Authority) – which deals with the licensing, regulation, monitoring, auditing, and supervision of all gambling activities and facilities (especially casinos, lotteries, gaming machines, and bingo halls) within the country. The Authority works with respect to the Gaming Machines Act of 1982, the Lotteries Act of 1994 with the amendment of 2002, and the Casino Act of 1999.
The most recent update to the gambling industry of Sweden was in 2017 when a new gambling bill was proposed. Also, the Lotteries Act of 1994 was elucidated to reinforce the state monopoly over lotteries. It is quite ironical; despite pressures from the European Union and the European Commission, Swedish state monopoly on gambling seems everlasting.
The gambling climate is marvelous despite the fact that there are just four casinos in Sweden. These casinos offer a wide variety of popular and less-popular games, a number of amenities, and entertainment extras. Gambling in casinos and a number of other gambling facilities is completely legal and overseen by the Swedish gambling regulator: the Lotteriinspektionen.
Following the country’s attractions and top sights, players from around the world would love visiting Sweden for an astonishing gambling experience. Swedish casinos are luxe, lively and well-equipped. In the Kingdom of Sweden, SEK (Swedish krona) is the official currency though the Euro is used in a meager quantity and there are more than 10 million people.
There are just four casinos in Sweden and they are located in distinct cities. As their names imply, Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall is located in Sundsvall (a seat city in the Västernorrland county), Casino Cosmopol Gothenburg is located in the capital and largest city of Gothenburg, Casino Cosmopol Stockholm is located in the major city of Stockholm, and Casino Cosmopol Malmö is located in Malmö (the largest city in the Scania county).
The largest casino in Sweden is Casino Cosmopol Stockholm, which offers more than 430 gaming machines with 47 table games. With 340 gaming machines and 44 table games, Casino Cosmopol Gothenburg is the second-largest casino in Sweden. Casino Cosmopol Malmö comes in third with over 249 gaming machines and 30 table games. Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall is the oldest yet smallest casino in Sweden, with 148 gaming machines and 12 table games.
In addition to the four Swedish casinos, there are arcades, pubs, restaurants, and bingo halls with casino games. The casino games available in the country are Roulette, Omaha Poker, Punto Banco, Blackjack, Texas Hold’em Poker, Baccarat, Video Poker, American Roulette, Royal Ascot, Video Lottery Terminals, Slot Machines, 7 Card Stud Poker, Stud Poker, Dice, Caribbean Stud Poker, Big Wheel, 3 Card Poker, Sic Bo, Midi Punto Banco, and Touch-bet Roulette. Particularly, progressive slots are popular in Sweden like other Scandinavian territories.
Also, Swedish casinos do not include hotels though there are restaurants and bars. Nonetheless, the casinos are strategically situated near exquisite tourist-friendly hotels. Furthermore, there are about 38 racetracks in Sweden, which offer horse racing, harness racing, and greyhound racing. (The most popular are Jägersro Trav & Galopp, Solvalla Racecourse, Bergsakers Travbana, and ÅbyTravet.)
Sports betting – especially on football (soccer) and ice hockey events – is huge in Sweden, with small sports betting outlets practically on every street. Similarly, lotteries are popular. Trisslotten, a scratch card, is the country’s favorite lottery game – and provided by AB Svenska Spel online, via telephone, and in land-based outlets. In addition to AB Svenska Spel’s monopoly, a private firm was licensed in 2003 to operate keno, scratch cards, and online lottery. Summarily, Keno, Bingo, Lotto, scratch cards (mainly Trisslotten), and Viking Lotto (in collaboration with Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway) are widespread in Sweden.
Bingo is the most popular form of gambling in Sweden. There are more than 100 bingo halls and 575 non-profit bingo licenses for charitable purposes. Bingo Lotto, operated by Folkspel, is the country’s favorite and available in land-based facilities and online.
Online gambling is legal in Sweden, though heavily monopolized. For one, the ATG offers its horse and harness racing services on ATG.se. Gambling on offshore gambling websites that are licensed within the European Economic Area is available for players from and in Sweden.
Below is a list of all casinos currently operating in the regions of Sweden.
Casino Cosmopol Gothenburg
Casino Cosmopol Malmö
Casino Cosmopol Stockholm
Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall
– While the minimum gambling age in Sweden is 18 years, players must be 20 years or older to enter a casino.
– Generally, Swedish casinos open from around 11 to 5 AM.
– Prior the establishment of AB Svenska Spel, Kungliga Nummerlotteriet organized 17 draws per year and Svenska Penninglotteriet AB organized draws on a monthly basis. The biggest win was SEK 5.7 billion.
– Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall was built in the antique structure of an 1847 train station.
– The gambling websites of AB Svenska Spel require the provision of an insurance or telephone number and residence, and verification of a Swedish bank account during registration. Also, a weekly maximum wagering amount must be selected.
– While the number of Swedish casinos is unimpressive, large companies such as NetEnt, Unibet, Expekt, Mr. Green, Betsafe, and Betsson are of Swedish origin.
– In 2012, Casino Cosmopol Sundsvall was the Casino of the Year as awarded by the TotallyGaming Awards.
– The two biggest wins in the history of Swedish gambling occurred in Casino Cosmopol Stockholm. First was a Swedish couple who won approximately €3.7 million while the second was around €1.7 million for a Fortune eMillions jackpot. Similarly, Swedes have won a number of mouth-watering amounts online. On the website of Unibet, a 26-year-old Stockholm native won €4.1 million and another Swede won €7.6 million.
– On February 27, 2010, a Swede won SEK 67 million in Axevalla Travbana. This has been the biggest V75 win throughout the ages, followed by a SEK 56 million win in Åbytravet on January 14, 2012.
– Historically, AB Svenska Spel was the first national lottery to operate online sports betting services.
– In 2003, AB Svenska Spel generated €52.6 million from its online services.
– Trisslotten’s highest win was SEK 30 million.
– Currently, the European Commission is scrutinizing Swedish gambling laws, the operation of Swedish state monopolies, and the distribution of revenues – and the European Union have been doing so since 2007, especially about the country’s monopoly. In fact, Sweden (alongside Greece and France) was instructed to end its state monopoly, particularly on sports betting, in 2007. Similarly, the EU dragged Sweden to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in 2014 over violation of the EU policy. According to the policy, cross-border gambling is a must unless the territory in question can prove gambling is a problem to its citizens and thereby protecting problem gamblers. However, Minister Ardalan Shekarabi of the Ministry of Public Administration, in 2015, stated that the monopoly of AB Svenska Spel is of the country’s interest, therefore there are no preparations to polyopolize the gambling industry anytime soon.
– There are many annual poker tournaments in Sweden; the Purple Lounge Swedish Poker Tour and the Swedish Open Poker Championship are the most popular.
– Sweden has one of the highest percentages of gambling population in the world. In any given year, at least 85 percent of Swedes participate in a form of gambling.
– Miss Vegas and Jack Vegas machines – which are VLT (video lottery terminal) games – are popular in Sweden. As of February 2018, there are more than 7,100 machines in 2,000 outlets throughout Sweden. By 2002, revenues generated through these two were SEK 1.95 billion. Jack Vegas machines – with a maximum of 7,500 throughout the country – are only allowed in 2,000 pubs and restaurants with an alcohol license while Miss Vegas machines are exclusively available in 100 bingo halls. The former was introduced in 1996 while the latter came into the country three years later.
– Wheel of Fortune and AWP (amusement with prize) machines have been banned in the country since February 1, 2002.
– Swedish state monopolies do not pay VAT.
– Gambling addiction is a pressing issue in Sweden, which is why the gambling laws are one of the strictest on the planet.
– In addition to casinos, there are facilities called Restaurangkasinos in Sweden. These are restaurant casinos and are permitted to offer a number of slot machines and video terminal lottery games to their customers. Currently, these facilities are nothing less than 200, operated by approximately 100 companies, and have more than 800 tables. Their special gambling taxes are specified by the law. As stated earlier, gaming machines are also available in bingo halls and pubs across the country.
– Amusement parks and gaming arcades also offer low-stakes machines operated by five private companies.
– When the company was being set up, Holland Casino – the state-owned casino operator in the Netherlands – entered a five-year contract with Casino Cosmopol to help train its employees.
– In 2001, horse racing generated SEK 10.68 billion (eight percent from the Internet, 18 percent on course, and 78 percent from outlets).
– Bingo is the only form of gambling in Sweden to have a competitive market, that is private companies can easily obtain a license to operate bingo – a polyopoly. Yet, AB Svenska Spel has a bingo operator: Söndagsbingo, previously Tipsbingo.
– In January 2018, other Swedish gambling operators threatened to sue AB Svenska Spel.
– In 2014, Swedish professional poker player Martin Jacobson won $10 million at the World Series of Poker Main Event.
– In 2005, popular British bookmaker Ladbrokes was denied a gambling license by the Swedish Supreme Court.
– Currently, there are over 288 gambling websites accepting players from Sweden.
– Gambling operators unlicensed in Sweden are prohibited from advertising or marketing their services. Numerous newspapers have been ordered to pay fines for publicising unlicensed gambling services.
– Regarding Bitcoin gambling, the government, its monopolies, and the Ministry of Finance have never announced an official ruling about virtual currency.
– According to a report by Roland Berger, 91 percent of the total gambling market is operated by unlicensed gambling operators.
– The over 1,300 Casino Cosmopol employees are of 84 diverse nationalities. Also, the company has been welcoming approximately one million visitors a year since 2017.