Swedish government reveals proposal on extending gaming restrictions

Citing concerns over the current pandemic, the Swedish government has revealed its new proposals to extend the current restrictions on the gaming industry until the end of June 2021.

The memorandum includes an extension to a series of ‘temporary measures’ introduced earlier this year such as a SEK 5,000 deposit limit for games at online casinos. It has been submitted for consultation until November 23 of this year.

The current measures, which came into force on July 2, faced backlash from the gaming industry after stakeholders raised the alarm over the risk to channelisation rates. 

Ardalan Shekarabi, minister of social insurance, noted: “We see that the development of COVID-19 is going in the wrong direction in several parts of the country. The situation is very serious. In the wake of the pandemic, we see continued risks in the area of ​​gambling, which means that we need to act to reduce the risks for vulnerable consumers.” 

In addition, proposals also include a suggested mandatory limit on playing time for those wagering at online casinos and ATMs, while bonuses offered by licensees who provide online casinos and ATMs will be limited to SEK 100.

When the initial ‘temporary’ regulations were introduced during the Summer following concerns over excessive gambling during the global lockdown, the Swedish regulator cautioned against the measures, stating that the SEK 5,000 deposit limit will have a ‘marginal effect’ on reducing the number of players gambling during the pandemic. 

Spelinspektionen also emphasised that players will have access to fewer consumer protection measures if they were to gamble via unlicensed operators.

Backing the Swedish regulator, the European Gaming and Betting Association added that ‘the proposed deposit limit could have unintended and detrimental effects – and harm more customers than they protect’ and ‘will do more to hit gambling and tax revenues’.