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Swedish government to probe party political lotteries

| By Robert Fletcher
Sweden’s government has announced an inquiry into the rules and regulations surrounding party political lotteries.
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The lotteries have faced criticism in recent years, including as to how this form of gambling is used to fund political parties in Sweden. Concerns have also been raised over how political lotteries have exemptions from credit bans, bonus restrictions and gambling tax.

The review will consider whether the rules that apply specifically to lotteries for the benefit of party political activities are justified and appropriate.

This will include consideration as to whether current regulations should be changed to offer greater protection to players. In addition, the review will look at whether licences should be granted to such lotteries at all.

The inquiry will review the lotteries’ exemption from, among other things, credit bans, bonus restrictions and tax liability. The investigation will also look at proposals that would require a full declaration of funding from lottery games.

“Openness and transparency are important prerequisites for a democratic society,” the government said. “This applies not least to the question of how political parties are financed. 

“The gambling market is surrounded by extensive regulations against the background of the need to reduce the risks of the social harm that gambling can entail. Large parts of the regulations for games have been fundamentally changed in recent years.

“It is important to maintain a high level of trust in the political system and that political power is not used to create undue advantages.”

Gunnar Larsson, the former consumer ombudsman and director general of the Swedish Consumer Agency, will lead the review.

The assignment must be reported no later than 29 February 2024.

Changing regulations

The inquiry comes as lawmakers in Sweden consider a number of other changes to current rules and regulations related to gambling.

This week, a proposal to increase penalty fees for gambling operators that breach the country’s Money Laundering Act was put forward.

The proposal would adjust penalties to the same maximum amount for violations of the Gambling Act.

At present, the maximum that operators can be fined for breaching the Money Laundering Act is much lower than for Gambling Act violations. The memorandum said this is “unsatisfactory” as, in many cases, violations of the Money Laundering Act can be considered more serious than those related to the Gambling Act.

Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen also announced it is to obligate owners of supplier licences to pay fees from 1 July.

Spelinspektionen will charge a fixed fee from any organisation that holds a licence to supply gaming software to operators in Sweden. The regulator requires businesses to pay a separate fee for each licence it holds unless it receives a specific exemption.

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