Sweden passes online casino restrictions

The much-criticised retrictions have finally been approved.
The much-criticised retrictions have finally been approved.

Sweden has gone ahead and approved much-criticised restrictions on online casinos and slots until the end of the year.

Sweden.- Despite criticism from operators and the country’s regulator, the Swedish government has approved its proposed temporary restrictions on online gambling.

The restrictions on online casinos and slots will come into force from July 2 and remain in place until the end of 2020.

Customers will have a SEK5,000 (€476) weekly deposit cap, and will have to set time limits on how long they want to play. Licensees will only be able to offer bonuses of up to SEK100.

Sports betting, including betting on horse racing, has been exempted from the measures.

Social Security Minister, Ardalan Shekarabi, said: “As a result of the current pandemic, we see a mix of circumstances that together create great risks in the gaming sector. These need to be counteracted. With these measures, the government will strengthen the protection of Swedish consumers.”

The government has also approved SEK500,000 in funding for the Swedish public health authority to carry out studies into problem gambling during the pandemic. The organisation will report its findings to the Ministry of Social Affairs by the end of February 2021.

Social Minister, Lena Hallengren, said. “We need in-depth knowledge of how problem gambling is affected by the Corona pandemic. This is important for preventing gambling addiction in the future.”

Licensed operators, industry associations and even Sweden’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen voiced strong opposition to the online casino restrictions, with executives from nine operators writing an open letter through trade body Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) urging the government to drop its proposal.

Spelinspektionen had already said it would be unlikely to be able to meet the proposed July 2 start date.

In other news from Sweden, Spelinspektionen has issued cease and desist orders to ten unlicensed operators for targeting Swedish consumers by offering products in Swedish and payments in Kroner.

The regulator has ordered the ten operators to withdraw a total 45 brands from the market.  

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