Concerned Operators in Sweden Set Out Their Vision for a New Market; Regulators Not Yet Ready to Enforce New Government Plans

June 11, 2020 3 min read
by Thomas Wolf

Sweden’s main online gambling representative, Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), sent an open letter to the Swedish government this week in the latest round of an ongoing tussle between operators, regulator Spelinspektionen, and lawmakers.

regulators in Sweden not yet ready to enforce new government plans

The letter includes a commissioned study that sets out the possible negative effects of new legislation put through the Riksdag by the government last month.

Ministers want to limit monthly deposits to SEK5,000 ($545) per player, as well as cut off bonuses at the SEK100 ($10) mark for casino players.

Sweden’s operators were instantly cautious of these new rules and the effects they might have. This report seems to confirm some of their suspicions.

BOS chief Gustaf Hoffstedt says that these measures could send customers back to unregulated and unlicensed international operators, creating an “unsustainable situation.”

The new report from BOS, authored by widely respected economic consultancy group Copenhagen Economics, said that the measures could see somewhere between 10-20% of customers switch back to quasi-illegal sites.

Instead, gaming operators have come together to lay out their own proposals that could protect problem gamblers, especially during the mentally and financially difficult time of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

These suggested steps include introducing a new Swedish licence for Business to Business developers, meaning big international developers would be discouraged from providing games to unregulated Swedish-facing sites.

Other proposals in the document include an increase in (anonymous) data sharing between the regulator and operators so that problem gamblers and patterns can be more easily identified across different casinos and networks, as well as a speculative alert system that can monitor or block customers who have recently accessed short-term loans from gambling.

The report cites the advancements in machine learning and AI pattern recognition, backed up by the EU’s strong data privacy laws, that could help make these measures a reality.

Ruled Out

Not only are operators unhappy with the new rules—Sweden’s own regulator Spelinspektionen has also said it isn’t in a position to enforce them by the original July 2nd deadline for implementation.

“It cannot be ruled out that these are changes that are both time-consuming and that can, to some extent, require recertification of the systems. Therefore, there is a risk that there are licensees who cannot meet the new requirements within the proposed time,”

The Regulator

Without support or clarification from the government, Spelinspektionen could soon find itself in a difficult position. Nominally, casinos and other operators will be breaking their licence agreements if they don’t enforce the new rules, but many operators claim it’s impossible to have the procedures set up in time.

Nobody wants to see closures of casinos and licence terminations when they’re not entirely needed, even the sometimes heavy-handed Spelinspektionen. We can only hope that all parties come to an agreement soon so that these disputes can be settled before things get even more complicated.

Make sure to keep checking our pages for the latest updates on this story as it develops, plus other gambling news from around the world.

Author

Thomas Wolf

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