Known primarily for its various contributions to science, industry, culture and the arts, Sweden also has close ties with gambling, with card games and lotteries having been a fixture of Swedish society for hundreds of years. However, in a scenario mirrored in many other countries throughout Europe, the gambling and online betting industries in the country has been rocked with its fair share of controversies throughout the years, and its legality has undergone alternating periods of acceptance and outright banning. Nevertheless, betting remains a significant component of Swedish culture, and it is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.
Legalities Of Betting Online In Sweden
Just as it is in many other counties in Europe, the Swedish government has sought to maintain its monopoly on betting and online gambling in the country. In a situation mirrored across Europe however, the European Union has placed increasing pressure on Sweden to liberalize its policies with regard to online betting sites. As of 2010, the government has relaxed its laws on online betting operators.
Current Online Betting Trends In Sweden
Betting related activities in the country encompass a wide variety of areas, with the lottery, and card and dice games being only some of the more prevalent ones. A fairly recent trend was the move of many Swedish gamblers to online bookmakers, which greatly widened the scope of the online gambling industry. As expected however, the Swedish government remained strongly opposed to foreign companies making inroads into the local gambling and betting market, and in spite of pressure by other countries in the European Union, it has retained much of its hold on the industry. Nevertheless, the liberalization of the online betting industry is expected to eventually take hold in Sweden much as it has in many other European countries, and the influx of foreign companies vying for a share of the lucrative betting market is all but inevitable.
History Of Betting In Sweden
In the period from the 8th to the 11th century, the predominant form of gambling in Sweden was dice games, various types of which were played by the Vikings. Beginning in the early part of the Middle Ages however, several provinces implemented laws that restricted virtually all forms of gambling in some fashion. The 14th century was a particularly bleak period for gambling related activities, and this would continue until the 16th century when card games found its way to the country.
Card games grew in popularity in many parts of the country until the introduction of the state run lottery in 1772. Introduced by King Gustaf III, the lottery and other gambling related activities flourished for several years until they fell under the ire of the church. With mounting pressure from various religious organizations and certain sectors of the conservative society, the government shut down the state-run lottery company in 1841. Nevertheless, gambling and betting proved to be an indispensable part of Swedish society, and the practice gradually came into favor once again. By 1934, the first big gambling company in the country–Tipstjänst–began offering the public wagering opportunities for sports, lotto and pools.