Swedish Government Approves To Introduce Temporary Online Casino Limits
Sweden’s government has permitted a series of temporary restrictions to protect the players in the country’s already regulated online casino market from gambling-related complications and harm amidst the Coronavirus crisis. The new rules and regulations will be put into effect from 2nd July 2020 and continue to exist until the current year ends. The measures will be applied to online casino games and slots.
Consumers will be bound to a mandatory weekly deposit cap of SEK5000, whereas the licensees will be able to offer bonuses up to SEK100 only. The players will have to play online casino games and slots within a specific time limit set with licensed operators in Sweden. The social security minister Ardalan Shekarabi stated that during COVID-19, the gaming sector had become exposed to more significant risks. These risks were to be combated by the temporary restrictions introduced to protect the Swedish consumers from providing a safe playing environment.
Moreover, the Swedish government has also decided to utilize SEK500,000 to fund the Public Health Authority to conduct further research and analysis into problem gambling during the pandemic. The organization must submit its findings to the Ministry of Social Affairs by the end of February 2021. The social minister Lena Hallengren believes that it is crucial to figure out how problem gambling is affected during this global pandemic to prevent gambling addiction shortly.
Shekarabi stated that the measures were to cover sports betting initially and horse racing; however, due to heavy criticism faced, these activities had to be exempted from the restrictions. Swedish gambling operator association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), has not supported these measures. It claims that the new changes might cause turmoil in the market by encouraging players to approach unlicensed providers.
Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling operator, has not been appreciative of the proposed changes, believing that it is challenging to implement such changes by 2nd July 2020. The BOS organized a petition, and chief executives from a host of Swedish licensees signed it to show resentment for the proposals. Chief executives from nine principal Sweden-facing operators and suppliers proposed a series of alternative actions that can be taken instead of the stake limit and prove to be more productive.
The government has approved the restrictive measures, and all the operators and organizations are bound to abide by them. Fintan Costello, the managing director of affiliate marketing specialist BonusFinder.com, has expressed disappointment with the decision to continue implementing the restrictions by arguing that the actions will hamper the channelization efforts and expose operators to the threat of enforcement action due to the limited timescale for their implementation. The managing director further added that the measures would push the players into the black market, and restrictions, such as the mandatory deposit cap and bonus limits, will make the legal market even less attractive to the local players. Giving the licensees only two weeks to accept and act on the proposed changes and alter marketing plans will be a tremendously costly and timely hurdle for the operators to overcome.