The Gambling Board in Sweden recently made the decision to tax all LAN parties within the country. From now on, players wishing to connect PCs and consoles for multiplayer gaming purposes will be forced to obtain a permit. Even worse, this permit can cost up to $5,000 and only lasts for two years.
In a country overflowing with LAN parties, this is bad news for gamers, but great news for the government.
Sweden is home to Dreamhack, the world’s largest LAN party. But what effect will this new tax have on the event? Chances are something as big as Dreamhack will survive. There might be some grumbling, but in the end they will shell out the money and suck it up. The games must go on, after all.
The real victims here are the small LAN parties. Granted, personal parties seem to be safe for the time being, but this tax is already expected to take a huge financial toll on the larger companies. How does the government expect the small organizers to afford such an expensive and fleeting permit?
So far, internet cafes seem to be the only safe mass of computers to play on. Since the cafes are not intended solely for the purpose of playing games, they are considered in a different category and are, therefore, free from the restraints of the new tax.
The only real plus side to all this is that the government will hopefully do something productive with all the new money they will be making.
To top it all off, there are even extra charges involved.
If a LAN party is really unlucky, it may even have to pay an additional inspection fee. Essentially, if the gaming board feels like supervising the party, the organizers have to pay a fee.
The worst part is that all this is happening because the Gambling Board considers LAN parties to be the equivalent of slot machines…
I mean, really Swedish Government? Slot machines? Not even close.
So if you are in Sweden, brace yourself for the effects. If you are in another country, cross your fingers and hope your government doesn’t get any ideas.
Let me know what you think of the new tax in the comments below!