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Sweden – New Swedish government would see gambling regulatory change slow down

By - 30 June 2021

Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling BOS has said the resignation of Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven following last week’s declaration of no confidence from the Riksdag will be a positive development for gambling as it will slow down some of the planned regulatory changes set to hit the industry.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, BOS Secretary General, said: “From a strict BOS perspective, we don’t have an opinion in other societal issues other than gambling regulation, the development is positive. The reason for this is that the incumbent Minister, Mr Ardalan Shekarabi, repeatedly has shown that he doesn’t have a functioning gambling market as his first priority. The possibility to pick political points by criticizing and make life miserable for the privately owned and international gambling industry always comes first, hand in hand with his willingness to offer state owned and/or state governed gambling operators special treatment.”

He added: “BOS believes that the government intended to propose an extensive gambling bill covering many regulatory topics to the Riksdag prior to the next general election in September next year. It is however impossible for the government to propose such bill at the moment. Preparations may continue, but it is likely that the process is slowing down. This is positive.”

Prime Minister Löfven had two choices; either call for an extra election within three months or ask the Speaker to find a new Prime Minister. Minister Löfven today announced at a press conference that he has chosen the latter.

Mr. Hoffstedt added: “The government now is an expedition government it will at least slow down the process to impose stricter regulation on private international gambling companies and give further benefits to operators with close ties to the government.The development is also positive in the aspect that it shows that the government acts without support from the Parliament in gambling regulatory issues. During the years in office Minister Shekarabi has wasted the support from the opposition he had prior to the Swedish reregulation. Almost all political parties agreed on the agenda regarding gambling regulation five to ten years ago. Nowadays the opposition often criticizes the Minister for his action in areas related to gambling, claiming that he has abandoned the agenda that jointly was decided prior to the reregulation in 2019.”

There are currently several gambling related initiatives from the government, including the temporary covid 19 restrictions. Mr. Hoffstedt said: “It will be difficult for the government to extend them beyond November 14 as long as the government is an expedition government. It will also be difficult to shorter them down for the same reason.”

In terms of the Gunnar Larsson inquiry, launched by the government, on channelization and combating match fixing, Mr. Hoffstedt believes Mr Larsson will continue with his inquiry, but it is unclear which government will receive his report when it is finished.

With regards to the governmental memo which suggests changing gambling marketing regulation from“moderation to special moderation, Mr. Hoffstedt said: “We do not know which government and minister will receive the consultation replies. The continued handling of the proposal depends on what government and minister we will have in October.”

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