Swedish report proposes yet more restrictions on igaming

Swedish report proposes yet more restrictions on igaming

The report from the Swedish Gambling Market Commission has proposed a risk classification system for online gaming.

Sweden.- The Swedish Gambling Market Commission (Spelmarknadsutredningen) has delivered a report on the country’s igaming regulations, proposing new restrictions on the market.

Led by special investigator and former member of parliament, Anna-Lena Sörenson, the report has recommended several stricter controls on the market including a proposal that the national regulator Spelinspektionen should implement a risk classification for gambling products.

The report suggests that games classified as the highest risk should be banned from advertising between 6am and 9pm. 

It also proposes that Sweden should make permanent the SEK5,000 deposit limit that has been temporarily imposed for online casino games during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report was initially commissioned in June 2018 to look into the potential need for extra regulations in addition to those provided in the Gambling Act that legalised online gaming from January 2019.

The scope was then widened to include the evaluation of potential restrictions on gaming advertising. 

Other proposals include the introduction of a law laying out reporting requirements for operators and a relaxation of bonus restrictions for gaming operators that generate funds for charity, such as lotteries, to enable them to better compete against private operators.

It also suggests greater controls on unlicensed gaming, which is now subject to a separate enquiry.

The report rejected proposals for statutory levels on horseracing and on other sports betting.

It also concluded that the Gambling Act was not the correct tool to include controls on loot boxes in video games, which it said should be studied at European Union level.

Sörenson said: “This has been a complex assignment that has touched on a large number of different issues linked to gaming regulation, which in some cases have required difficult trade-offs.

“I believe that the proposals we come up with today can both contribute to strengthening consumer protection and make regulation more appropriate.”

Minister for Social Security, Ardalan Shekarabi, said: “Spelmarknadsutredningen’s report will form an important basis for the Government’s forthcoming measures.”

However, the operator association Branscheforenigen för Onlienspel (BOS) expressed alarm at the report’s recommendations. 

Its secretary general, Gustaf Hoffstedt, said: “Sweden has invested in a licensing system with 102 operators that offer a high level of consumer protection.

“hey pay around SEK4bn annually in gaming tax, invest in workplaces and staff, sponsor Swedish sports and contribute to Swedish technology know-how.

“Banning licensed gaming companies from marketing their services to Swedish consumers while leaving unlicensed companies free to offer their services to Swedish consumers is a bad proposal.

“This only leads to reduced consumer protection and to erode the Swedish gaming market.”

The Swedish regulator has recently reprimanded two operators for allowing players to deposit more than the permitted limits.

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