Among the operators to be approved include Svenska Spel, Betsson Group, LeoVegas, Kindred Group, GVC Holdings and Bet365.

Lotteriinspektionen, the Swedish gaming regulator, has granted licenses to 16 initial recipients from 12 gambling operators for country’s reformed online gambling market, which opens on January 1, 2019.

The regulatory body, which will be renamed to the Spelinspektionen (The Gambling Inspectorate) next year to reflect its wider remit, issued a statement late last week announcing that it had received 95 license applications to date, of which 70 gambling companies are involved in the competitive online gambling market.

Of those applicants, 12 licenses have been issued in the first wave, with more expected to come before the end of the year.

Lotteriinspektionen’s Director General, Camilla Rosenberg hailed Friday as a “historic day for gambling in Sweden” and also praised the staff involved in processing gambling license applications “under severe pressure.”