Sweden’s government has today Wednesday proposed an increase in the gambling tax, from 18 percent of GGR to 22 percent of GGR. The reason, according to the government, is that the gambling market should have stabilized since the reregulation in 2019 and that channelization is said to be high.
BOS Secretary General Gustaf Hoffstedt comments:
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 channelization in the Swedish gambling market is 77 percent. Some gambling verticals, including online casino, are as low as 72 percent. The trend is also declining, in other words the channeling decreases over time.
We are already far from the state’s goal of at least 90 percent channelization, and if this tax increase is approved by the Riksdag, we will soon be down to the channelization we had before Sweden reregulated its gambling market in 2019. A reregulation that took place because Sweden had such a low channelization at the time.
Sweden’s government must perform much better than this. There is still time to withdraw the proposal, concludes Gustaf Hoffstedt.
The government’s proposal can be found in Swedish on pages 289-290 here: https://www.regeringen.se/contentassets/e1afccd2ec7e42f6af3b651091df139c/forslag-till-statens-budget-for-2024-finansplan-och-skattefragor-kapitel-1-12- appendices-1-9.pdf
Below a Google translation of the same text:
Increased gaming tax
The government’s assessment: The excise tax on gambling should be increased from 18 to 22 percent of the balance for each tax period.
The upcoming proposal should enter into force on 1 July 2024.
The reasons for the government’s assessment: One of the purposes of today’s gambling regulation is to protect the surplus from gambling activities for the general public by contributing to the financing of government activities. With the exception of gambling that is reserved for public benefit purposes, licensed gambling is taxed according to the Act (2018:1139) on tax on gambling. According to this law, excise duty is levied at 18 percent of the balance for each tax period. The balance is made up of the difference between the total stakes and the total payouts. A taxation period consists of one calendar month.
An increase in the tax on gambling should be well balanced to avoid a major negative impact on the proportion of gambling that takes place at the companies that have a license for gambling in Sweden. From the bill A reregulated gambling market it appears that a tax of just over 20 percent can be considered compatible with an aim to achieve a channelization rate of at least 90 percent (prop. 2017/18:220 p. 258). In that bill, however, a lower tax level was proposed for precautionary reasons. The current tax rate of 18 percent has applied since the Swedish gambling market was reregulated in 2019. The gambling market has since stabilized and channelization has increased significantly. In addition, measures have been taken to exclude unlicensed gambling from the Swedish market, which came into effect 1 July 2023 (prop. 2022/23:33). The reasons for caution when setting the tax level should therefore not be as strong now as during the re-regulation. An increase from 18 to 22 percent is judged to be at a suitable level to strengthen 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 tax on gambling should therefore be increased from 18 to 22 percent.
The upcoming proposal should enter into force on 1 July 2024. The government intends to return to the Riksdag in the spring of 2024 with a proposal according to the above. The upcoming proposal is estimated to increase tax revenue by SEK 0.27 billion in 2024 (half-year effect) and thereafter by SEK 0.54 billion per year.