It is expected to see the gambling industry reach €476,79 Billion by 2022. With figures that size operators try to capitalize their participation, while states get their part through taxes. As they fight for the lion’s share, only a crossover figure known as a gambling state monopoly gets the 100%.
But even if the state is the only providing gambling services they need regulatory supervision. Italy’s Agenzia delle Dogane en dei Monopoli and the Sweden SpelInspektionen have been entitled the duty of ensuring a transparent industry and customers’ protection, especially after the appearing of online gambling were unregulated elements could compromise not only the state’s profits but also the health of its citizens.
For both the Italian and Sweden jurisdictions’ live gambling has been limited to 4 casinos located in their most important cities. While the Agency forbids access to their residents; the Inspectory allows everyone in legal age (+18) to responsibly use the facilities.
However, many gambling forms can be practised. Is not uncommon to see pubs, and bars with slot machines or people getting entertained with card games, (poker being especially popular) or betting shops. Only Italy goes a bit further with slot machines prowling everywhere including Cafes and bus stations, while Swedens can flutter a blackjack session in some dedicated bars.
A common point in both jurisdictions are ferry casinos. Vessels tours around Finland or Malta, leaving customers free to party and have a shot at the tables and slots.
Online gambling in these jurisdictions differs greatly in its approach.
First of all the ADM has always been restrictive towards online gambling. Despite being the first country passing dedicated legislation in 2006, it was until 2012 that it achieved a full legitimization of the market and only limited spaces for licensing.
The inspector instead allowed gambling in 2002. After acknowledging that nearly 25% of gambling profits was taken away by foreign operators, The Inspector decided to open its market in 2019 and allow operators to make business and retain the profits with taxes.
Offshore Operator Access
Sweden has become more liberal in this regard as it allows legitimate offshore operators (such as Malta licensees) to compete against the major state operator, Svenska Spel, who possess 50% of the market share.
The ADM, however, persists in blacklisting unlicensed operators, even if they are legitimate members of the European jurisdiction situation the spark conflicts because of its stubborn posture. The restriction however does not prevent users from accessing gambling operators such as Casino Cadoola and other providers using a VPN.
Ban advertisements seem to be a common point of these jurisdictions. In 2018 a total ban was imposed in the whole industry, followed by another over sponsorship in 2019, dropping revenues in the Italian gambling sector. Not even online operators can escape the ruling as they are also banned from search engines.
Sweden seems to follow the ruling as it always has a strict approach for protecting customers. However, starting 2020 a total or partial ban in gambling advertisement was even considered, especially in more“harmful” forms such as casinos.
The inspector has always been strict, protecting customers from problem gambling. During the creation of their online accounts, customers must establish their monthly, weekly even daily spendings and session time limits.
Ironically, despite its severity against operators, the ADM treats players with silk gloves, by allowing them free to gamble as much as they please.
This contrasting approach gets reflected in problem gambling figures where Sweden proportionally has 2% of its adult population considered problem gamblers with 5% being at risk of falling in the disorder. Italy with its liberal approach holds 2.4% rates for problem gamblers while 5,9% of them are at medium risk.
While the perception of the regulators on the gambling industry differs greatly, Sweden’s SpelInspektionen holds a greater balance between the protection of customers and the accountability of income for the estate. Italy on the other hand slowly chokes operators with heavy impositions while not enforcing a more responsible approach to its citizens, who can get away with crime.
Only when a respectful approach from both sides is achieved can the gambling industry can boast the transparency and safety everyone seeks