Changes afoot as Swedish minister proposes stronger measures

Svenska Spel has called on Swedish licensees to step up after the country’s Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi proposed a number of temporary changes in gaming legislation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shekarabi has suggested that the limit for deposits to a gaming account may not exceed SEK 5,000 per week with a SEK 100 cap on bonus offers, as well as making it mandatory for players to set limits on playing time.

Spearheaded with a mantra of “we can’t look back in six months and say we did too little or too late,” the minister has also issued the Spelinspektionen with a number extended assignments centred around responsible and safer gambling.

Patrik Hofbauer, Svenska Spel’s president and CEO, explained: “The government’s measures are tough. It is difficult to interpret the proposals as anything other than a substantial underestimation of the gaming industry’s ability to present powerful measures themselves. At the same time, we are surprised at what we think is missing about consumer protection.” 

Adding: “It is easy to understand the Minister’s concern. Although we at Svenska Spel have not been able to see any effect in the form of increased risk play, layoffs, home sitting and a near total lack of sports objects can lead to more people searching for more risky forms of play.”

Added responsibilities to be taken by the country’s regulator centres around reports on development in the gaming market, as well as the necessity to take steps to significantly increase the public’s knowledge of the possibility of turning off games through Spelpaus.se.

Furthermore, the authority must strengthen the supervision of players who provide illegal gambling by reporting on regulatory measures and the effect of these, and what additional tools the authority needs to prevent unlicensed gambling from being directed online to the Swedish market.

Camilla Rosenberg, director general of Spelinspektonen, stated: “Now there will be an even clearer focus on gaming responsibility and the fight against illegal gambling. We make immediate adjustments to the organisation in order to meet the new demands placed on the authority.”

Promising to ensure that customers will be offered a safe and secure environment, Hofbauer added: “In summary, it is difficult to interpret the Minister’s proposal as anything other than a substantial under-rating of the gambling industry’s ability to present powerful measures themselves. 

“Several companies in the industry have certainly taken the initiative and already imposed their own restrictions. But a chain is never stronger than its weakest link. Now it is time for all gaming companies with a Swedish license to seriously consider what they can do to protect customers, sports and society.

“The minister’s signals are clear: If the industry cannot resolve it on its own, it will result in political control. I hope it will be an awakening for those gaming companies that have shown a slight interest in constructive solutions.”