Nordic countries are the richest in Europe, and the local population consists of quite a few gambling lovers. However, the authorities of these countries have kept a closed policy, allowing only certain governmental monopolies to operate in the countries. Next to this, the governments were fighting unauthorized gambling operators by blocking the payment transactions that were sent to or from such operators. This has made the bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies very popular in the region. However, it does seem like iGaming operators will finally be able to operate in the white area (at least in Sweden) this year.
A few weeks ago, a local gambling regulator called Lotteriinspektionen has announced that it will open up applications for the local gambling license as of July 1st, 2018 and by the end of the year we may expect the first licenses to be issued.
As we read on the leading Norwegian casino portal Casinopånett.eu, Swedish iGaming sector constituted to a turnover of nearly 47 billion SEK in the year 2016, which is around 5.7 billion USD, for licensed gambling operators. This is 2.8% higher than the figure from the previous year. However, the turnover of the operators working in the grey area (unlicensed) is estimated at 5.1 billion SEK, which is 618 million USD. Yet the growth rate for such operators is much higher - around 16.5% between the years 2015 and 2016. Most of such operators have been relying heavily on funding operations though various cryptocurrencies, especially considering that the government has been requesting the local payment system providers to block the transactions related to unauthorized gambling operators. Hence, the growth of various bitcoin casinos has been drastic within the region.
While it is still debatable how the whole licensing process will go, we can already see that taxes may be the main issue. Other EU member states like Poland and Czech Republic opened up their markets earlier last year, yet instead of increasing the number of the local operators, it has actually led to a sharp decrease in the number of operators providing services within the country under a regulatory umbrella. Hence, all of the bitcoin and other cryptocurrency casino and betting sites have continued servicing the residents of these countries.
It is clear that Sweden is one of the best slices of the European gambling cake, and the operators will not give it up easily. In case the local tax policy will be similar to the ones adopted in Poland or Czech Republic, we may see an even larger demand for cryptocurrencies coming from the region. However, in case Sweden adopts a policy similar to the one present in the UK, it may surely mean a decline in the BTC top ups coming from Sweden.