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Sweden – BOS slams Swedish government’s extended covid-19 restrictions

By - 24 November 2020

Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel, the online trade association representing 23 gambling companies in the Swedish gambling industry, has written to Sweden’s Ministry of Finance to complain about the temporary restrictions on the online gambling market that were introduced on July 2 this year that are now being extended to June 30 2021. The proposed restrictions are a weekly deposit limit of a maximum of SEK 5,000 and that bonus offers are limited to a maximum of one hundred kronor.

BOS remains critical of the proposal and calls on the government to withdraw it.

The association’s Gustaf Hoffstedt said: “There is nothing as permanent as a political promise of something temporary. The temporary restrictions introduced this summer were justified by an alleged increase in online casinos. That did not turn out to be the case. Online casino activity didn’t increase, and sports betting decreased dramatically due to cancelled matches. Instead, it was gambling on horses that increased dramatically.”

“Everybody in the gambling market, such as the Swedish Gambling Authority, us and the government, knew this but unfortunately the government persisted in the erroneous claim that online casino activity would increase and that special restrictions were therefore called for regarding that form of gambling. Betting on horses, on the other hand, was left protected from restrictions,” he added. “It is unfortunate that we can only state that the government is now making a double mistake when it with the same erroneous claims about increased online casino gambling extends the restrictions.”

“The consequences of the restrictions are twofold. First, high-volume players jump between more and more gambling companies to avoid the deposit limit. This makes it difficult for an individual gambling company to get an overall picture of a player’s behaviour, which is a prerequisite for being able to take protective measures in the event of suspected problem gambling.

“Second, the high-volume players are leaving the Swedish licensing system in favor of the unregulated gambling market, where there are no deposit limits. Even before the first restrictions were introduced this summer, the leakage from the Swedish licensing system was 25 percent for online casinos. What the leak is today and what happens during the extended restriction is a scary thought. The government throws the Swedish gambling consumers out of the licensing system into the wolves’ gap where consumer protection is zero,” Mr. Hoffstedt concluded.

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