Swedish Treasury: re-regulation has led to stronger consumer protection

Sweden Swedish

Regulation of the Swedish gaming market has improved the condition for achieving the overarching goals set by parliament, asserts Sweden’s State Treasury, upon delivery of a final report looking at the country’s digital ecosystem.

These ambitions include that the gaming market should be under public control, have strong consumer protection and protect revenue from gaming for associations and the state.

After being tasked to evaluate the effects of re-regulation, with particular regard to channelling and consumer protection, Treasury estimates that “the gaming market will function better in 2021 than in 2018”.

The Swedish market was re-regulated on January 1, 2019, due to an increasing number of the population wagering at black market entities, with the move undertaken in a bid for the state to gain a greater control of the country’s online gambling space.

In what is called “the most important effect of the re-regulation,” Treasury cites a significant increase in the proportion of the Swedish populace that now utilise licenced companies.

“This means that a larger part of the gambling takes place with gaming companies that comply with Swedish gaming legislation and pay tax in Sweden,” the report reads.

“The state’s increased control over the gaming market also means that the state has better opportunities to, among other things, counteract match-fixing and regulate the content of gaming advertising.”

However, despite acknowledging that stricter requirements has led to stronger consumer protection, it’s noted that “more can be done to reduce the negative consequences of gambling”.

It is said that there’s a need for regulation of how gaming companies may process personal data in order to counteract excessive gambling, in addition to greater knowledge being required of what effect different measures have on players’ behaviour.

“The re-regulation has to a large extent preserved the conditions for the association’s life to take part of the income from games, with the exception of the associations behind the bingo halls,” the report continues.

“The state’s conditions for taking part in the income from gambling have also been preserved to a great extent.”

Furthermore, the State Treasury has also outlined a series of recommendations that it says would lead to a “better functioning gaming market,” which includes the need to increase knowledge of channelisation as well as entering into alliances with other EU countries against unlicensed gaming companies.

Moreover, the Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling regulator, is also urged to develop its communication with the gaming industry, as well as its knowledge about which players will be suspended from gambling and what the consequences will be.

Treasury has also suggested that there’s a “need for further follow-up and evaluation in the gaming area after our assignment,” which includes a recommendation for the SGA to regularly report on channelisation.

It also recommends that the Spelinspektionen produce an annual report on match-fixing, as well as calling on the Swedish Public Health Agency to monitor the development of gambling problems within the framework of the agency’s regular assignment.