Gamers in Sweden suffer a hard financial blow as authorities decide to tax so-called LAN parties.
From now on, organizers of multiplayer get-togethers will be forced to pay a fee of up to $5,000 in order to receive a "permit" to connect PCs and video game consoles for gaming purposes.
The ruling was made by the Gambling Board, the supervisory authority for gambling and lottery, in accordance with the liberal government’s revised slot machine regulation of last year.
The thriving gaming culture in Sweden – which hosts DreamHack, the biggest LAN party in the world – is expected to be struck hard by the decision.
Video games, too, are included under the new authorization.
”In the eyes of the law, these are slot machines. There is no difference,” Johan Röhr, general counsel at the Gambling Board, told the computer magazine M3.
According to Röhr, the new rules do not apply to, for instance, Internet cafes, where computers are mainly connected for purposes other than gaming.
In addition to the new tax, LAN organizers may be forced to pay an extra inspection fee should the Gambling Board decide to supervise the party.
Erik de Basso, Accounting Manager of the LAN party organizer Inferno Online, is highly critical of the new tax, which will cost his company additional thousands of dollars of expenses every year.
”They equate our business with playing slots at the local pub. Of course you get pissed,” he told M3.
The Gambling Board now requests all companies and economic associations which organize games on computers in a LAN environment to apply for a permit. For purely private gaming authorization is, so far, not needed. A permit is valid for two years.
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