Kindred Group and Svenska Spel have issued more guidance regarding the evolving situation in Sweden, citing concerns over a sharply reduced gambling market and weaker consumer protections as a result of government proposals.
Intending to take hold from next month until the end of the year, the measures would includes temporary weekly loss and deposit limits of SEK5,000 (€458) per week for customers as well as making it mandatory for players to set limits on playing time.
Kindred, which last week added its name to an open letter sent to Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi, voices a shared concern with several experts that the licensed gambling market will be significantly reduced as a result of the continued tightening of gaming regulations, which has widely been documented as inevitably leading to an expansion of the illegal market.
The group is urging the implementation of measures that protect the integrity of the licensed market and properly protect vulnerable players.
Among those are to quickly implement B2B-licenses for suppliers and customer acquisition companies, consider further regulation of the instant loan industry, carry out powerful public awareness campaigns and clarify the Gambling Authority’s mission by requesting player data from gambling companies to facilitate fact-based assessments
“We are extremely concerned that the Swedish gambling market continues to shrink, a trend confirmed by both the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) and research firm Copenhagen Economics. What the government is now proposing will result in a continued decline in the gambling market and an erosion of consumer protections,” explained Henrik Tjärnström, CEO Kindred Group.
“We need to be careful about introducing regulations that move customers away from regulated gambling companies towards unlicensed sites where Swedish authorities have no ability whatsoever of ensuring a high consumer protection. This is a negative development for customers, for the licensed gambling companies, and for society as a whole.”
Svenska Spel, whose name was not included as one of 12 on last week’s communication with Skekarabi, has also commented on the proposals, agreeing with “several other major gaming companies”.
Offering an assessment that the current rules and regulations are fully adequate to meet the trend towards increased risk gambling, Svenska Spel asserts that there’s no justification for additional regulation at the current time.
Patrik Hofbauer, CEO of Svenska Spel, commented: “Our assessment is that today’s regulations and legislation are fully sufficient to meet trends in increased risk gambling. With the duty of care that lies with the gaming companies, we already have a comprehensive responsibility for taking action if we see that it is needed.
“Now, gambling addiction flags for people with risk behavior to seek beyond the licensed gaming market. This is a problem that is not solved by restrictions on the licensing market, but by the authorities taking the hard gloves against gaming companies that provide illegal gambling.
“We therefore do not see that further regulations are justified at present. But if the government wants to take action on the basis of a general concern, then it is important to design them as wisely as possible and focus on protecting those who need protection.”
Adding: “In summary, we will work together – the gaming industry, politics and authorities – to protect those who need protection. We will put in place the measures that are most effective, listen to the expertise and ensure that the law is followed. It’s a simple recipe for a healthy gaming industry, whether it’s a pandemic or not.”