Gaming operators in Sweden upset by prolongation of temporary rules

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling has found a strong ally to the battle against the new online gaming regulations introduced to the country.

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (Branschföreningen för Onlinespel, or BOS for short) has found a strong ally to the battle against the new online gaming regulations introduced to the country. IBIA (International Betting Integrity Association) has partnered with the Swedish association to ensure that the sports betting and gambling market will remain safe, within a new legislative reformation which, according to the IBIA and the BOS, will do more harm than good to both the industry and the players.

Right now and until the end of the year, the Swedish gaming industry is run within strict interim online gambling laws. It was last April, within the first major lockdown, that Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden’s Social Security Minister, announced a new set of rules to “combat the rise in online casino wagering”. This means that players are obliged to set a limit on their online casino time, while the weekly deposit is limited to a hard cap of 5,000 krona (just under 500 euro). At the same time, online sportsbook and casino operators cannot offer bonuses exceeding 100 krona (9.8 euro).

Operators were not happy but were initially assured that this is just a temporary measure, to protect players during the Pandemic and especially until sporting action restarted. But just recently the Ministry of Social Security proposed the prolongation of the interim rules until the summer of 2021, a proposal that was planned to be discussed in the parliament on November 23.

IBIA and BOS argue that the extension of the measures will harm legal business and help the illegal market in Sweden thrive. So the two groups agreed to combine forces to come up with more effective solutions in order to maintain the integrity of the iGaming industry.

Khalid Ali, IBIA’s chief executive, underlined how important it is to find alternatives, as in his estimate the government’s proposal will only benefit offshore operators.“We believe that those restrictions will prove counterproductive and we hope that the Swedish authorities will take an evidence-based approach and continually reassess their position on this matter. In the meantime, we will work with our colleagues at BOS to do all we can to keep that market safe,” he added.

A few months ago, many legal operators, among which William Hill, Kindred Group, LeoVegas, Betsson, and iGaming developer NetEnt, co-signed a petition stating that “the decision condemns the online gambling market to lawlessness.”

Since the new measures were announced the Spelinspektionen, the designated gambling commission has suspended 45 operation licences, for bonus abuse. It is worth noting that up until 2019, the iGaming industry in Sweden was run in anarchy, under little to no regulation, but the European Commission demanded member-states to draft legislation regarding online gaming. Sweden has now one of the strictest sets of laws regarding betting and casino, both online and in physical shops.

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