Spelinspektionen has said it will not object to the reimposition of temporary online casino deposit limits at a lower level than before.
Sweden.- When Sweden imposed a temporary SEK5,000 (€490) deposit limit for online casino gaming in July 2020 in a bid to prevent an increase in problem gaming during the Covid-19 pandemic, the move was highly controversial.
It attracted criticism not only from gaming operators but also from the national regulator. Spelinspektionen argued that the limit would be unenforceable and that there was no evidence to justify it.
However, with Covid-19 cases increasing again after the deposit limit was finally allowed to expire in November 2021, the Swedish government is proposing to reintroduce a deposit limit, and at the lower level – SEK4,000 (€388).
This time Spelinspektionen has said it would have “no objections” to the measure, although it did note that the impact of deposit limits remains unclear.
Sweden’s government launched a consultation on the new deposit limit earlier this month. The limit would be imposed – at least initially – from February until June 30, although the term for the previous deposit limit was extended twice beyond the original period. The period of consultation ended yesterday (Monday, January 17).
Spelinspektionen stressed that while it would not oppose the re-introduction of a temporary limit, more data would be required if a limit were to be put in place for the longer term. Spelinspektionen is evaluating the impact of the previous limit and intends to report its findings to the government by March 15.
It welcomed clarification from the government on how operators should manage players who set their deposit limits higher than SEK4,000 a week, but then lower their limit.
Gaming operators oppose new deposit limits
The industry group Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), meanwhile, has criticised the proposed new limits as bad for players and the industry.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of BOS, said: “We have requested evidence of the government’s findings of alarming increases in online casino play, as we have not seen such a development in our own books.
“We have also pointed out that the restrictions are counterproductive. They have an impact on the gaming market and consumers that is negative for consumer protection and public health.”
He added: “The restrictions create incentives for the high-volume consumer to, instead of playing with a single gaming company, instead play with many companies, in order to thus override the deposit limit.
“It also creates additional incentives for consumers to move away from the regulated market.”