The CEO of Aktiebolaget Trav och Galopp (ATG), Hasse Lord Skarplöth, has put forward a proposal for differentiated tax in response to the Swedish government’s announcement of plans to increase gambling tax by 4%. The government’s proposal outlines an increase in the gambling tax rate from 18% to 22% of gross gaming revenue (GGR), set to take effect from July 1, 2024. While the government estimates that this tax rise could bring in an additional SEK540.0m in tax revenue annually, it has faced opposition from the industry, including the ATG.

Skarplöth expressed surprise at the proposed tax hike, labeling it a “shock” and calling for taxes on horse and other sports betting to remain unchanged while increasing taxes on online casinos. He cited examples of other European countries with differentiated gambling taxes as evidence for the government to reconsider its proposals. Skarplöth emphasized the need to find a way to fill the treasury without jeopardizing equestrian sports.

The ATG’s proposal for differentiated tax comes in the midst of the state-owned betting business pledging to crack down on illegal gambling in Sweden. The company reported a ten-fold increase in visitor traffic to unlicensed websites since the launch of legal betting in Sweden in 2019. ATG data indicated that channelization rates for regulated online gambling were between 70% and 82% in Q3 2023, with online sports betting at 88% and online casino at 74%. The ATG estimated that the illegal market is worth between SEK3.4bn and SEK6.7bn annually.

Skarplöth expressed concerns over the figures and declared that the ATG would take necessary steps to address the issue. He pointed out that the quarterly surveys indicated a significant percentage of problem gamblers in Sweden were linked to unlicensed gambling sites.

Despite the turbulence in the gambling landscape, the ATG reported steady performance in the Swedish market. GGR from Swedish license-holders remained constant at SEK6.7bn in Q3. The ATG also saw a successful period with a double-digit rise in operating profit. Net gaming revenue increased by 4.5% to SEK1.35bn, making it the second-highest figure for a third quarter in ATG’s history. Total revenue for the three-month period was SEK1.53bn, representing a 3.0% year-on-year increase. The company achieved an operating profit of SEK497m, up 13.7% year-on-year.

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