Spelinspektionen backs reintroduction of temporary gambling restrictions

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The Spelinspektionen says that it holds “no objections” on the reintroduction of temporary gaming liability measures in Sweden in light of an increased spread of COVID-19.

The Swedish Gaming Authority noted that due to the current rapid spread, which saw the country introduce stricter infection control measures last week, means that the circumstances which brought an initial introduction “is now again considered to exist”.

However, despite acknowledging that it therefore “has no objections to the government reintroducing temporary liability measures similar to those previously in force pandemic,” the SGA noted that it its “too early” to comment on the effects that each has had.

Alongside a prior cessation of the temporary measures in November 2021, the Swedish government instructed the Spelinspektionen to conduct an evaluation to follow up and analyse how forms of gaming and accessibility to the activity develop in the short and long term.

This also includes proposing measures to strengthen consumer protection in the gaming market in a bid to “counteract public health problems”.

The Spelinspektionen shall, no later than March 15, 2022, submit a partial report on the first part of the assignment concerning the evaluation of the temporary gaming responsibility measures. The assignment must be finalised no later than October 31, 2023.

Earlier this month, Sweden’s ministry of finance submitted a memorandum calling for the reintroduction, which it proposed would enter into force on February 7, 2022, until the end of June. It is added that they only be introduced “if it is deemed necessary in view of the current situation”.

This contains provisions that the deposit limit for games at online casinos may not exceed SEK 4,000, and that the corresponding loss limit applies to games at ATMs.

It would also be mandatory for players to set limits on playing time when playing at online casinos and ATMs, with bonuses offered by licensees also only able to amount to a maximum of SEK 100.

This saw BOS, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, call on the country’s government to rethink its gaming consumer protection safeguards, after advising against a new deposit limit for online casinos.

“In a welfare state like Sweden, there must be strong protection for those who gamble for money,” Ardalan Shekarabi, minister of social insurance, said of the potential move.

“That is why we have regained control of the gaming market, and that is why we are reintroducing enhanced consumer protection now that the risk of problem gambling is increasing as a result of the pandemic.”

The mandates, which first came into play on July 2, 2020, “as a result of the prevailing pandemic,” had previously come to a conclusion on November 14, 2021.