The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) has requested in a letter to the government that the temporary restrictions for online casinos be lifted from September 29, and not on November 14 as previously decided by the government. This is due to the fact that the government during a press conference on September 7 announced that almost all general restrictions related to the pandemic will be lifted on September 29.
“The main argument from the government for the restrictions was a concern that increased time spent in the home during the pandemic would lead to increased gambling problems. That did not happen, it would turn out. Now that the Swedish Public Health Agency is also lifting the recommendation to work from home from 29 September, we believe that the government should lift the temporary restrictions for online casinos on the same date in the name of consistency.”
BoS said that during the period of the regulation, it has emerged that there is no support for the assumption that gambling problems linked to online casinos would have increased due to the pandemic and the fact that people spend more time at home. Professor Mark Griffiths at the International Gaming Research Unit at Nottingham Trent University has shown in a study from January to May 2020 – thus unaffected by the government’s temporary ordinance – that the number of Swedish gaming consumers increased during the first phase of the pandemic, but that the size of the average bets decreased. So more people played online, but for less money. Professor Griffith’s study also shows that consumers with a high risk of problem gambling reduced their gambling intensity during this period.
The association added: “Most indications today are that Sweden has overcome the most difficult phase of the pandemic. As a consequence, Swedish society has begun a return from a state of emergency to a normal situation. For the gaming market, it has so far been mainly noticed by the state-owned land-based casino Casino Cosmopol opening its operations on July 7 this year, without the temporary restrictions that apply to online casinos.
“The fact that the government announced on September 7 that most of the general restrictions will be removed from 29 September this year is, of course, an even clearer signal of the government’s ambition to return Sweden to a normal situation. This includes the Swedish Public Health Agency’s advice to withdraw the advice to work from home, which was the main argument for the temporary regulation on gambling liability measures, as it was claimed that increased stays at home would lead to increased gambling problems with online casino gambling,” it added.
“Against this background, BOS hereby requests the government to include a termination of the temporary regulation on gambling measures, together with the termination of the general pandemic restrictions. Thus, the temporary regulation on gambling liability measures would end on 29 September this year, and not on November 14.
Caption: Gus Hoffstedt of BoS