Gambling operators in Sweden in turn offer protective measures

The Swedish Minister of Social Security proposes to tighten regulations regarding the online gambling market. These government measures aim to strengthen consumer protection, especially after the possible explosion of online gambling following the recent health crisis. However, the members of the Branscheforenigen för Onlienspel (BOS) – the association of operators of the online gaming sector – do not hear it that way, deeming these measures too restrictive. On the contrary, the BOS thinks that they will make the cabbage fat of unlicensed operators. Also she proposes seven measures which would make it possible to secure the players without reaching the rate of channeling.
New government measures targeting online casinos in particular
The opening up of the Swedish market to online gambling has brought new topics on gambling regulation. Among the subjects raised, the protection of players is prominent. Lawmakers are considering further tightening restrictive measures. These measures focus on the possibility of limiting deposits and losses at the level of online games.
However, operators in the sector believe that other measures could rather favor unlicensed competitors. It must be said that the Swedish online gambling market is already heavily regulated. Swedish Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi is proposing to put deposit and spending limits in place on all online games, which the Swedish Online Gambling Association is opposed to. Indeed, it believes that by applying these measures, players risk leaving the regulated market.
In order to prevent the entry into force of the new restrictions, the nine principal managing directors of the sector propose seven factual measures, which they say would improve consumer protection, without affecting the rate of channeling. At the government level, the proposal has been revised, and the Minister of Social Security wants to tackle only online casino games. According to him, these present a significant risk for the players.
The Branscheforenigen för Onlienspel (BOS) – the association of operators of the online gaming sector – for its part considers that new restrictions on online casino games could drop the channeling rates from 75% to between 52% and 63%, which would be extremely low. As a result, almost half of the bets would go to unlicensed operators.
According to the Minister of Social Security, the new measures applying to online casinos should come into force on July 2, 2020. They serve to better protect consumers. Following the coronavirus pandemic which has raged in the country, it has been observed that the activity of games of chance and particularly of online casino games has experienced good growth, which is refuted by a report from the Swedish regulator (the Spelinspektionen). The Swedish Gambling Authority says there has been no increase in online gambling activity during the global health crisis.
The operators of the online games sector make their proposals
For Gustaf Hoffstedt, CEO of the association of operators of the online gaming sector (BOS), the Swedish government, through its restrictive plan, aims to provide competitive advantages to gaming companies where it has interests.
Also, since June 8, the CEO and members of the BOS have unveiled seven measures to strengthen consumer protection. Among these measures comes first the widening of Swedish licensing requirements. This would allow iGaming software vendors and businesses serving customers to be covered. B2B licenses granted by the Swedish regulator should increase the latter’s ability to regulate the gambling market.
The following measure suggests an IQ campaign for gambling establishments. This campaign could serve as the basis for a proactive information portal, which would allow players to be fully informed about the Swedish self-exclusion register and also on the protection tools available to them.
The BOS also proposes that data collection be put in place for industry and consumers. The association indicates that the government should instruct the Spelinspektionen to request regular reports. These reports – containing anonymized data on the gambling behavior of customers – would increase the understanding of gambling habits, and thereby avoid any further problems. Data on games of chance, the estimation of the risks incurred by players, the extension of the powers of the Spelinspektionen and the extension of the duty of care to a greater number of industries are other measures proposed by the BOS.