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Latest Developments in Gambling Taxation, Acquisitions, and Regulations

Sweden is ready to increase its gambling tax to 22% hoping to raise an additional €45 million

Latest Developments in Gambling

The country's authorities announced this at a meeting on the preliminary adoption of the budget for 2024.

The government believes that after legalization in 2019, the country’s gambling market is now firmly on its feet, which in turn will help attract an additional €45 million to the budget – the current tax rate is 18%.

The proposal is expected to be submitted to the Swedish Parliament for approval next spring.

Flutter bought 51% of the shares of the Serbian operator MaxBet for €141 million

The British holding Flutter acquired a 51% stake in the Serbian gambling operator MaxBet for €141 million.

This step fits into the long-term development strategy of the holding in the fast-growing gambling market of the Balkan Peninsula.

According to the plan, MaxBet will be integrated into the holding’s own technology platform Flutter Edge.

MaxBet is an excellent opportunity to replicate the success we have achieved in markets such as Georgia, India and Italy by acquiring a strong local brand with a leading position, where we see a great opportunity to combine the operator's wealth of experience with the power of our Flutter Edge platform to accelerate growth,” said Peter Jackson, CEO of Flutter.

Jackson also noted the attractiveness of the Serbian gambling market – according to Flutter, annual growth in online betting until 2025 will be 15%. MaxBet has approximately 20% of the online betting market in Serbia with 95 thousand active players on average per month.

The deal is expected to intensify competition in the Balkans with Entain which acquired leading Croatian gaming group SuperSport for €600 million in 2022.

The MaxBet agreement is now awaiting Serbian regulatory approval and the transaction is expected to be completed in the 1st quarter of 2024.

Gambling business faces new restrictions in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan intends to limit the activities of the gambling and lottery business, Khabar 24 reports. One of the main reasons is the growing number of people suffering from gambling addiction.

Casinos across the country are visited annually by 450 thousand people, and 50 thousand of them play on an ongoing basis. These figures were announced by Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports Erzhan Erkinbayev. The department and deputies develop a bill in which they want to include a number of tightening amendments. It would recognize gaming addiction as a disease at the legislative level and begin licensing rehabilitation centers.

The document may also affect advertising restrictions. They propose to show it only on sports grounds and in specialized media. They also want to raise the age limit for gambling participants from 18 to 25 years. However, the limitations don't end there.

Erzhan Erkinbaev, Vice Minister of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Kazakhstan:

- We want to introduce criminal and administrative liability for the illegal creation of gambling establishments and gambling resources. Introduce liability for the fact that gambling business entities allow persons under the required age to play. People with open debt, arrears, or other financial obligations including persistent alimony defaulters should also not be allowed to play.

According to the vice minister, 12 bookmakers operate legally in the country. Several thousand unregistered websites were blocked by relevant government agencies. At the same time, the department does not intend to completely liquidate the gaming and lottery business.