The Swedish government has announced a proposal within its 2024 budget to increase gambling GGR tax as it believes the country’s market is now steady following legalisation in 2019.
From 1 July 2024, Regeringskansliet plans to increase Sweden’s gambling tax from 18 per cent to 22 per cent in hopes of raising an additional SEK 540m (£39.4m) per year.
With concerns surrounding low channelisation, the Swedish government hopes that by increasing the gambling tax, a channelisation target of 90 per cent can be achieved with little negative impact on the legal market.
The proposal – which can be found on pages 289-290, section 12.20 of the 2024 Budget – is expected to be put forth before the Riksdag for approval in the spring of next year.
“The current tax rate of 18 per cent has applied since the Swedish gambling market was re-regulated 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 entered into force on 1 July 2023.
“The reasons for caution in setting the tax level should thus not be as strong now as at the time of the reregulation. An increase from 18 to, against this background, 22 per cent is judged to be at a suitable level to reinforce the financing of government activities, without it leading to too great an impact on the companies and the size of the tax base. The excise duty on gambling should therefore be increased from 18 to 22 per cent.”
However, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling – Branschföreningen för Onlinespel – has argued that the proposed changes don’t take into account the current state of the market and the future it is heading toward.
BOS Secretary General Gustaf Hoffstedt commented: “The announcement from the government is deeply disappointing, above all because it shows that 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 per cent. Some gambling verticals, including online casino, are as low as 72 per cent. The trend is also declining, in other words, the channelling decreases over time.”
Hoffstedt also claimed that if the planned gambling tax increase is approved, channelisation in the market will decrease.
The Secretary General stated: “We are already far from the state’s goal of at least 90 per cent channelisation, and 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 re-regulation 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.”