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Branschföreningen för Onlinespel, Sweden’s online gambling trade association, urges the government to rethink its proposed comprehensive ban on gambling with credit.

The Ministry of Finance‘s proposal will enforce an outright ban on all forms of credit for gambling transactions.

Current laws prohibit licensed operators from processing credit card transactions as specified by the Gaming Act of 2018, which re-launched Sweden’s gambling market. The new amendments go further, banning all forms of credit-funded payments for gambling.

This means that beyond credit card transactions, licensed operators won’t be able to process any credit-based funds, including personal loans, deferred payments, and overdrafts.

The Ministry’s comprehensive ban on credit transactions is part of a package calling for greater enforcement powers for the Gambling Inspectorate, Spelinspektionen, and new duty of care requirements to prevent excessive gambling.

The government is moving forward with the legislative process to implement this ban. A memorandum has been issued for comments by 23 May 2024, and Riksdag voting is expected in late 2024. If approved, the amendments will take effect on 1 April 2025.

BOS is responding to these developments by urging the government to reconsider the technical details of its proposed ban. Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General of BOS, argues that the responsibility for preventing credit card payments for gambling should lie with credit card issuers, not gambling operators.

“If the government goes ahead with the proposal, we believe the obligation to mediate payments for gambling should be placed on those issuing credit cards rather than on gambling operators,” Hoffstedt says.

BOS believes that further restrictions on legal gambling operators will fail to protect consumers and instead push them towards unregulated platforms, which lack stringent consumer protection measures.

By placing the responsibility on credit card issuers, supervised by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (Finansinspektionen), the government can prevent payments via credit cards to all gambling companies, including illegal and unlicensed ones. Almost half of the Swedish online casino market is unlicensed and illegal due to heavy restrictions on the licensed market.

Hoffstedt emphasizes that new restrictions should not burden consumers betting on the legal market. Targeting credit card issuers will help manage the risks associated with credit-based gambling while maintaining a healthy, regulated market that protects consumers.

BOS’s stance reflects a commitment to maintaining a balanced regulatory environment that safeguards consumer interests without encouraging illegal gambling activities.