In the category weird we noticed that Swedish authorities have decided to implement a tax for LAN parties. The tax will be levied by the Swedish Gambling Board, which argues that in the eyes of the law, there's no difference between a slot machine in a casino and a PC at a LAN party. Unless the decision gets reversed, small LAN parties with under 10 computers face a $400 tax, events with 11-25 computers can expect a $1,500 tax and large LAN parties with 26 or more computers can anticipate a whopping $5,000 tax.
Sweden is home to the world’s largest LAN party, Dreamhack, which will most certainly be impacted by the decision. The report from Fria Tider quoted Erik de Basso, accounting manager of Sweden’s Inferno Online LAN event, who said that he is “pissed” by the decision and said that it would cost his organization thousands. It is quite curious as to why Sweden is choosing to tax LAN parties in the same manner as slot machines.
It may very well be sheer ignorance, or it could be something deeper. Gambling is taxed as a way to compensate the government for repairing the societal ills it causes. You don’t have to be an anti-gambling zealot to see the mountain of evidence that points towards gambling, particularly video lottery terminals, as having an impact on labor productivity, substance abuse and personal indebtedness. Perhaps in the mind of Sweden’s political-class, legions of youth playing PC games have an equally negative impact. The same knee-jerk ‘all video games are bad for youth’ thinking that went in vogue after Columbine might still resonate in the halls of power in Sweden.
Don't worry gamers, we found a way to cheer you guys up.