Sweden’s revised credit card gambling ban proposal receives BOS pushback

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Sweden’s Ministry of Finance has put forward proposals for a more comprehensive ban on using a credit card to gamble to enhance player protection.

However, the proposal has received pushback, as the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling – Branschföreningen för Onlinespel – has expressed disappointment in the government’s decision since it will hand “another competitive advantage to the unlicensed gambling market”.

According to a statement on the Regeringskansliet’s website, the Ministry of Finance’s memorandum proposes a more comprehensive credit card ban for gambling to “prevent gambling for money from leading to indebtedness” since gambling problems and over-indebtedness are closely connected.

Niklas Wykman, Minister of Financial Markets, stated: “Gambling for money on credit can lead to great financial difficulties. Therefore, we are now stopping that possibility. 

“It is not reasonable for gambling companies or gambling agents to contribute to individuals taking such large risks.”

While Sweden’s Gambling Act has previously prohibited those licensed in the country from offering or providing credit for stakes in gambling, a more comprehensive ban is being introduced to help counteract indebtedness more effectively.

The statement read: “According to the ban, it shall not be permitted for these gambling companies and gambling agents to receive payments financed with a credit – regardless of how and when the credit has been provided. It includes, among other things, that bets for money may not be paid with credit cards.”

Regeringskansliet noted that the more comprehensive ban falls in line with licensed gambling companies’ duty of care in the Swedish market, with the memorandum further proposing that the Spelinspektionen “should be authorised to set requirements for what these action plans should contain”.

The authorisation amendment is proposed to enter into force on September 1, 2024, while the credit card ban is proposed to be enforced from April 1, 2025.

As previously stated, BOS has issued a response to the credit card proposal, opposing the government’s ban. 

The association noted that with the more comprehensive credit card ban, the Swedish government is “going against its own government investigation into the matter”.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General of BOS, commented: “It is sad that the government does not listen to its own expertise and instead proposes a ban on credit cards when gambling, contrary to what the government investigation has concluded.

“Interestingly, the government does not propose a corresponding credit card ban on the purchase of alcoholic beverages, which as is known is only offered by a store monopoly owned and operated by the government itself.

Hoffstedt continued: “The unlicensed gambling companies will continue to offer games with credit cards. The government hands yet another competitive edge to the unlicensed gambling market, which has a 41 per cent market share when it comes to online casinos. This is where the big threat to consumer protection lies. 

“The risk is great that unlicensed gambling will overtake and gain a larger total market share than licensed gambling in 2024. The government needs to change its footing and show that it is on the side of the licensed gambling companies and consumer protection.”