Sweden's plan for restrictive measures on the online gambling market has proved to be a sensitive topic. Announced back in April by Welfare Minister Ardalan Shekarabi, the measures set a weekly deposit limit of $495 (SEK 5,000) as well as time limits for Swedish players. These measures have been introduced as part of the country's plan to increase player protection while combating the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).
While the measures are aimed at helping the community and people suffering from gambling addiction, they have provoked a mixed reaction from industry giants. The Swedish Association of operators Branscheforenigen for Onlinespel (BOS) has prepared a petition to reject the proposed measures. So far, 12 gaming operators have joined the petition, which according to BOS general secretary Gustav Hoffstedt, represents almost half of the Swedish online gambling market. The following companies have already joined the petition: NetEnt, William Hill, Kindred Group, Betsson. The most important operator that operates without a Swedish license is https://utansvensklicens.casino/casino-med-snabba-uttag/, it is at the peak of popularity as users do not want to accept any restrictions as with licensed operators.
Even Spelinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Authority, has now expressed concern about the positive effect of the recently planned restrictions. The Gambling Authority has indicated that while they generally agree with the introduction of rules that increase player protection, such measures could also have a negative impact on the market if implemented in a hurry. Spelinspektionen pointed out that such a negative effect would be a reduction in sewerage, which currently stands at around 75% instead of the 90% planned by the Swedish government.
In addition, the Gambling Authority pointed out that the limit of $495 per week is too restrictive. Based on 2019 data, Spelinspektionen showed that the average loss per citizen is $310 (SEK 3,043) for the entire year. The gaming authority continued that, based on the figures, it appears that a small number of players account for a significant proportion of the total revenue: "At the same time, a smaller proportion of players (between 5% and 25%) account for a large proportion of the total gaming market turnover (between 80% and 90%), which means that the majority play with significantly smaller amounts."
Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjörnström said that the company is really concerned about the climate of the Swedish market. He said that he sees a worrying downward trend in the market, which is actually confirmed by Copenhagen Economics as well as the Swedish Public Administration Agency (Statskontoret). In his own words, Tjarnström said: "We have to be careful about introducing regulations that divert customers from regulated gambling companies to unlicensed sites, where the Swedish authorities have no capacity to provide high consumer protection. This is a negative development for customers, licensed gambling companies and society as a whole."
Svenska Spel CEO Patrick Hofbauer also commented on the topic. He felt that the current restrictions are sufficient, given the current trends in risk gambling. Hofbauer shared Tjörnström's view that more restrictive measures on online gambling could lead to users choosing an unlicensed market. In his own words, Hofbauer said, "Gambling addiction now forces people with risky behavior to look outside the licensed gaming market. This problem is not solved by restrictions on the licensing market, but by tough action by the authorities against gaming companies that are involved in illegal gambling.
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