ATG CEO calls for differentiated rates on verticals amid government tax hike proposal

Hasse Lord Skarplöth asks Sweden’s government to keep taxes on horseracing and sports betting the same but raise taxes on online casino he deems a more “problematic form of gambling”  

Hasse Lord Skarplöth, CEO of the Swedish Horse Racing Totalisator Board (ATG), has said the government’s plans to increase GGR tax from 18% to 22% came as a “shock” as he called for differentiated rate on online casino to support horseracing.

In September 2023, Sweden’s government outlined proposals to increase the tax rate, which, if approved, would come into effect on 1 July 2024.

ATG published its response in December, alongside a number of other operators, in a fightback against the proposed four percentage point hike.

The operator said the tax increase would have “negative consequences” for the Swedish horseracing industry, adding that the “already hard-hit industry” would face a further loss of SEK200m (£15m) per year.

In a blog on the operator’s website, posted today, 22 January, Skarplöth expressed his bemusement at the tax proposal while laying out the reasons behind his argument for differentiated tax rates.

Skarplöth’s blog was posted after Swedish Finance Minister Elisabeth Svantesson told business publication Dagens Nyheter that she was prepared to cut taxes in the Nordic nation.

The ATG CEO explained that the company had also conducted research in November and December to compare tax rates for gambling firms among EU countries and the UK.

Those internal surveys found that Cyprus, Malta and the Netherlands are the only nations with uniform tax rates regardless of vertical.

Skarplöth also outlined how taxes on online casinos across the EU were “often much higher” as he argued that “the most problematic form of gambling by far pay the most back to society”.

He explained: “It came as a shock, the proposal for a higher excise tax on gambling companies. The ensuing reaction was a sense of resignation; how would the already hard-pressed horse industry cope with the fact that the contribution from ATG was greatly reduced?

“Strengthened by our research, we have now put quite a lot of energy into demonstrating the advantages of a differentiated gaming tax in Sweden as well. The hope is now that our analysis will move legislators from insight to action.

“It is a good starting point for our proposal; keep the tax on horse betting and sports, but raise it on online casinos.”

The CEO suggested that conversations with politicians in Sweden regarding concerns over the tax rate were progressing well, before he noted further studies were continuing on the possibility of differentiated tax rates.

Skarplöth added: “The political representatives we have met so far have shown a great understanding of how a generally increased gambling tax risks hitting the horse industry.

“At the same time, our proposal for a differentiated gambling tax has met with some interest – knowledge of the solution of our neighbouring countries has been surprisingly low.

“The hope is now that our analysis will move legislators from insight to action. In parallel, we are investigating whether there is anything else in our Swedish tax system that would make a structure with different tax rates at stake impossible.”


​EGR Intel


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