Sweden drops proposal for new online casino deposit limit

The Swedish government had proposed a new limit to come into effect from February 7.
The Swedish government had proposed a new limit to come into effect from February 7.

The government has dropped plans to reimpose a temporary online casino deposit limit at a lower level than before.

Sweden.- The Swedish government has dropped plans to reimpose a temporary deposit limit for online casino gaming.

Sweden introduced a SEK5,000 (€470) deposit limit in July 2020 due to fears the Covid-19 lockdown could cause a surge in problem gambling.

The limit finally expired in November last year, but with Covid-19 cases on the rise, the government had proposed introducing a new temporary limit at SEK4,000, less than before.

Industry groups and operators were highly critical of the proposal. The national gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, which had criticised the original deposit limit in 2020 said it would not oppose the proposal but noted that it had yet to be proved whether the previous limit was effective.

The restriction also includes a SEK100 limit on sign-up bonuses, which are the only bonuses operators may use in Sweden.

However, the government has finally decided not to implement a new limit, which would have applied from February 7. Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of industry association BOS, welcomed the decision.

He said: “The government has made a wise and well-balanced decision, partly based on the general development of the pandemic; partly, and above all, because precisely these restrictions would not achieve their purpose of protecting public health. 

“We are in favour of strong regulation of the gaming market, and a prerequisite for this is that the intention with various reforms can also be expected to have the intended effect. That was not the case with Covid restrictions, and it is therefore welcome that they be withdrawn.”

Earlier this week, Sweden’s government backed minister of social securities Ardalan Shekarabi’s proposal for new safer gambling and consumer protection measures, including new limits on advertising and measures against unlicensed operators.

Under the proposals, there will be mandatory licensing of third-party games and software providers that service Swedish licensed operators and online casino games will be moderated, with the riskiest being subject to enhanced measures to protect young and vulnerable audiences. 

More Swedes gambled for money in 2021

Meanwhile, Spelinspektionen has published the results of a survey that shows more Swedes gambled for money last year. The survey, carried out with survey company SKOP at the end of November, found that 73 per cent of all Swedes had gambled for money in the previous 12 months, an increase of 7 percentage points from 2020.

Some 29 per cent of those who played in the past year played every week, and 75 per cent played on lotteries and number games, the most common form of play.

The vast majority (86 per cent, up 7 percentage points year-on-year) played at home. As for recognition of Sweden’s Spelpaus.se gaming self-exclusion register, 59 per cent of gamblers said they were familiar with the register, an increase of only two percentage points.

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