Operators may suspend operations in the country if the government continues to impose ever more restrictive limits
In March, Sweden’s ATG introduced a mandatory weekly loss limit for online casino games. This limit has to be selected by the players themselves and can be changed each week. As we reported back in March, Maria Allmer, business project leader at ATG, said: “We simply want to lead by example in the gaming industry.”
Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden’s Minister for Social Security, had warned that extraordinary measures could be adopted if operators didn’t introduce new measures to protect online players during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But now, there are voices against further restrictions for operators in Sweden. The Swedish online gambling trade association BOS is asking the government to withdraw the proposals for more restrictions on existing online operators, including new limitations on advertising. BOS warns that operators could ‘leave’ the regulated market if the government continues to impose ever more restrictive limits.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary-general of BOS, said: “There is no doubt that the licensing system is under heavy pressure when it comes to the gambling verticals sports betting and online casino.
‘It is irresponsible to even consider further restrictions towards the locally licensed operators in those verticals, since we know that such restrictions push the punters away from the licensed market to the unregulated illegal market with its non-existent customer protection.
“The future for the Swedish licensing system is now determined by the authorities and the Government’s ability to abstain from further restrictions towards locally licensed operators.”
Last Thursday, BOS published an open letter to Shekarabi, warning about the new restrictions, and saying that the whole purpose of liberalising Sweden’s online gambling market was to ‘channel’ local gamblers to local sites so that their activity could be monitored for signs of problematic gambling, and earn the government a tidy pile of cash. But, if gamblers move to internationally licensed alternatives, or even the illegal market, then the above-mentioned objectives cannot be attained.
The letter was signed by the CEOs of Betsson, Kindred Group, LeoVegas, NetEnt and William Hill.