Today’s online gaming industry poses strict demands on operators when it comes to factors like marketing, competition, financial matters and of course, regulatory issues. By Swedish law, every online casino should be in possession of a Swedish license that allows them to operate in Sweden. This automatically means that casinos that do not have a Swedish license cannot do any marketing in Sweden or target towards Swedish players
Despite these restrictions, many Swedish players still opt to play at online casinos which are ‘unregulated’ and are not in possession of a valid license to operate in the country, simply because some of these sites outshine their peers when it comes to games, bonus offers and payment methods, for example.
What Is Casino Without a License?
A casino without a license is a reference to an online casino that does not have acquired a Swedish gambling license from the Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen). The Swedish term is “casino utan licens”, but is not correct, since these “unlicensed” casinos usually have license from either Malta (MGA) or Curacao.
Is it Legal for Swedish players to Play on Unregulated Online Casinos?
Yes, it’s fully legal for Swedes to register or play at an unlicensed casino.
As of January 1st, 2019, the government issued an act stating that no online casino is allowed to operate anywhere within Sweden without a valid license from the Swedish Gambling Authority. However, this doesn’t mean that you will be engaging in illegal activity by choosing to play at an offshore site since there are currently no legal repercussions for players.
We have chosen to focus on the handful of unlicensed online casinos that still accept Swedish players, as they are familiar with the legal boundaries of such practices.
THE ENTIRE LIST OF CASINOS WITHOUT A SWEDISH LICENSE april 2021
The Swedish Gaming Act
Online casinos have soared in popularity over the past decade, but the industry has unfortunately also given rise to several issues that require strict supervision from the authorities. Scammer sites looking to cheat players out of their cash through unfair practices is one such major concern while problem gambling and addiction come in at a close second, followed by fraud and money laundering.
This is why the Swedish government strives to protect its citizens through harsh regulations such as identity verification measures and controlling the amount of bonuses available by the operator.
The most recent Gaming Act issued in 2019 necessitates that all operators seeking to target Swedish players must apply and be approved for a license from the Swedish Gambling Authority.
How Do Operators Obtain a Swedish License?
The SGA has issued a list of requirements for every gambling website looking to operate across the territory of Sweden:
Credit play is not allowed
It is allowed to grant only one bonus to a player
Casinos must keep track of all their players’ gaming history
Casinos must partner up with a responsible gambling organization
Players should be able to limit themselves
In order to withdraw funds, a player must be identified with BankID
There must be loss and deposit limitation functionality
Severe moderation of business advertising
All information on the website must be translated to Swedish
As you see, there is a lot to keep track of in order to comply with the latest Swedish gambling legislation and this puts off many operators from applying for a Swedish license because of all the money and hassle it would cost them to implement all the above changes. It makes a lot more sense for operators to withdraw from the Swedish market officially while still continuing to accept Swedish players.
Benefits of Playing at a Casino Without a Swedish License
As previously mentioned, many players are not satisfied with the strict regulations imposed by the SGA, leading them to seek out unlicensed sites because they offer better terms than casinos licensed in Sweden.
Here are some of the advantages that distinguish foreign casinos from their Swedish counterparts and make them much more attractive for the average Swedish player.
More game software providers to choose from (not all game developers are approved by the Swedish Gambling Authority)
More game types (for example, in casinos without a license you can play scratch cards and lots of other game types underrepresented in Swedish-licensed casinos)
Faster gaming on slots (the mandatory three-second delay between spins does not exist and autoplay is always available)
Registration without e-identification requirements (eg BankID)
The ability to receive more than one bonus per player
Please note that the above should not be considered an invitation to use gaming sites without a license. The above points are listed for informational purposes only.
Disadvantages of Gambling at an Online Casino Without Swedish License
It’s a lot more favourable for players from Sweden to play at licensed casinos and gaming companies since these sites guarantee safe games, tax-free winnings and the ability to control gambling with deposit and wagering limits, amongst others.
These are the major disadvantages of playing at unlicensed casinos:
No possibility to use Spelpaus and other game limitation features
Games in currencies other than SEK (Swedish kronor)
No possibility to use Swedish payment methods (eg Swish)
No opportunity to complain to Swedish authorities such as the Swedish Consumer Agency and the Swedish Gambling Authority
Consumer protection and safety is probably one of the biggest issues many players experience with casinos which are unlicensed in Sweden.
While this varies depending on the site in question, generally only those casinos licensed outside of the EU require players to pay 30% tax on their winnings over 100 SEK.
Online casinos in possession of a license by an EU country will not tax your winnings, so long as they do not explicitly target Swedish players. Here’s how you can check if an offshore website targets players from Sweden:
Check If the site has Swedish text
Check If games are offered in Swedish kronor
Check If bonuses and promotions are marketed with SEK as the currency
Online casinos without a Swedish license cannot implement the responsible gambling tools provided by the SGA, meaning that Swedish players cannot take advantage of self-suspension systems (such as Spelpaus) that provide assistance in case of a gambling addiction.
Most online casinos which are unlicensed in Sweden offer more or less the same variety of payment methods as their Swedish counterparts, with the exception of Swish, since this system works exclusively with SGA license holders.
There are currently around 200 casino sites without a Swedish license that still choose to accept Swedish players. Some of these are established companies that have been around for years while others are fairly new to the scene. The mandatory tax and the limit of one bonus per player have discouraged many operators from applying for a license.
There are quite a few renowned online casino operators that have simply opted to block Swedish players from accessing their site in order to avoid facing legal action by the authorities. This is implemented by restricting access to their sites from Swedish IP addresses and also those using a VPN.
Another way the SGA is attempting to counteract gambling at foreign gaming companies is to simply block payment options. Anyone who plays at a casino without a Swedish gaming license may in the future run the risk of not being able to deposit to and withdraw money from a foreign site, even with payment methods such as bank transfers.
One of the possible solutions to this problem might be found within the realm of cryptocurrency. Since it is irrelevant which country the wallet’s owner is residing in, paying with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is one way to get around payment blocking. Many online casinos nowadays accept cryptocurrencies such as BTC, ETH, LTC, etc.
Many foreign casinos are definitely safe to play at but we always recommend doing your research when searching for one that suits your needs. If you choose wisely, you won’t ever need protection from the Swedish government. It’s a good idea to apply the same criteria as you would for a Swedish-based casino. We suggest taking into account the following to ensure the safety of an online casino without a Swedish license:
Check for the license first. If it is a reliable one (eg. from Malta, the UKGC or Gibraltar) then you will likely avoid any trouble.
Enquire about fairness certification. Each casino should be audited by independent bodies such as eCogra, TS, iTach Labs or GLI. These companies ensure that the games at any given casino are true to the random number generator and provide fair results for each player at any time.
Make sure that the games come from well-known providers such as NetEnt, Microgaming, Novomatic and Playtech.
Gambling on sites that are not licensed by the Swedish Gambling Authority is not illegal since there is currently no law prohibiting players from playing at a ‘foreign’ casino.
One of the advantages of playing on licensed casino sites is that you never have to pay any taxes, since gambling tax in Sweden is instead paid by the gaming companies.
The SGA makes it hard for online casinos to achieve a Swedish license easily, and the reality is that some companies simply do not wish to put in the time and resources required to meet their criteria. There are four main reasons why a reliable online casino might choose to refuse a Swedish License:
Unwilling to pay 18% tax and license fee
Refuse to engage in moderation marketing
Unwilling to limit bonuses to one per player
Large companies may want to focus on other markets apart from Sweden