BOS calls for restrictions to be eased to tackle black market concerns

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The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) has stressed that Sweden’s economy would benefit from easing restrictions that it says “drive players to the black market”.

According to a new report, estimates suggest that the country’s grey and black markets will generate revenues of just over SEK 21bn between 2021 and 2025 if action is not taken to ease restrictions.

Nima Sanandaji, co-founder of the Stockholm-based think tank Captus and the report’s author, said: “The rigid bonus ban stands out, which does not allow any benefit to loyal gaming customers. Sweden pays a high price for that regulation in terms of lost players who instead choose unlicensed play.”

Using data from several sources, including the Swedish Treasury, the report says that the country’s gambling licensees employ 4,200 people, with the industry’s contribution to gross domestic product estimated to be at just under SEK10bn (€1.9 bn). Employer contributions and preliminary payroll taxes from the industry amount to SEK 533m annually.

However, if the share of licensed online gambling in Sweden increased from 80 to 90 per cent of the market, more than 460 more jobs would be created, gross domestic product would grow by SEK1.1bn, and an additional SEK 59m in employer contributions and preliminary tax would be paid.

Data from state-owned operator Svenska Spel indicate that gambling companies’ sports sponsorships total SEK800m a year.

“It is our hope that this report will get more people interested in the gaming industry’s contribution to Sweden, as well as the still untapped opportunities that exist for the politician who works for the inclusion of the gaming industry in Sweden’s business policy,” stated Gustaf Hoffstedt, BOS secretary general.

Last month, the Swedish State Treasury outlined a series of recommendations that it said would lead to a “better functioning gaming market,” which included 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, was 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 also suggested that there’s a “need for further follow-up and evaluation in the gaming area after our assignment,” which included a recommendation for the SGA to regularly report on channelisation.

It also recommended 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.