Hasse Skarploth is the CEO of Aktiebolaget Trav och Galopp. He has demanded a differentiated tax after the Government announced plans to raise gambling taxes by 4%.
The Swedish government announced plans in September to increase the tax on gambling from 18% of gross gaming revenues (GGR) to 22%. The tax increase will be implemented in Sweden on 1 July 2024 if it is approved.
While Regeringen believes the move could bring in an additional SEK540.0m (PS39.3m/EUR45.5m/$48.4m) in tax revenue each year, the proposals met with strong opposition from the industry, including the ATG.
Skarploth called Regeringen’s plans “shocking” in a blog post and proposed that taxes for horse racing and sports bets remain unchanged, but those on online gaming should increase. Skarploth gave Regeringen examples from other European countries that have different gambling taxes to convince them of the need for a rethink.
Skarploth stated: “It was a surprise to see the proposed higher tax for gambling companies. It was followed by a feeling of resignation. How would an already struggling horse industry deal with the reduction in ATG’s contribution?
The will to fight was reawakened shortly after. Can there be an alternative that would fill the Treasury without putting the sport of equestrian in danger?
We have put a great deal of effort into showing the benefits of a differentiating gaming tax not only in Sweden, but also throughout Europe. Our analysis is now hoped to move lawmakers from awareness to action.
It is an excellent starting point. Keep the tax on sports and horse racing, but increase it for online casinos.
ATG pledges to crack down on illegal gambling in Sweden
ATG proposes a tax differential after the Swedish state-owned betting company promises to clamp down on illegal gambling.
The ATG reported in November that the number of visitors to non-licensed sites has increased tenfold since Sweden legalized betting.
ATG’s data shows that the channelisation rate for online gambling regulated in Q3 of 2023 ranged between 70 and 82%. Online sports betting has a rate of channelisation of 88%. This drops to 74% when it comes to online casinos.
ATG estimates the illicit market to be worth SEK3.4bn – SEK6.7bn per year. ATG said that two groups, Infiniza Limited, and North Point Management Ltd accounted for 60 percent of the illegal gambling traffic during Q3.
Skarploth expressed his concern over the numbers, declaring that the ATG would do everything it could to address the problem moving forward.
Skarploth stated that the results of their quarterly surveys were alarming. They showed that many problem gamblers are connected to gambling websites not licensed.
ATG thrives in the steady Swedish market
The GGR of Swedish license holders was the same in the third quarter at SEK6.7bn. Land-based casinos saw the largest growth in revenue, with a 30,5% year-on-year increase.
ATG had an extremely successful three-month period up to 30 September, 2023. Operating profit grew by double digits.
The net gaming revenue increased by 4.5%, to SEK1.35bn. It was SEK1.29bn the previous year. ATG recorded its second-highest third quarter ever despite the Swedish economy stagnating in H1.
The total revenue was SEK1.53bn for the period, up 3.0% on an annual basis. Operating profit for the group was SEK497m. This is up 13.7% on an annual basis.