Sweden: Gaming operators face new challenges from regulators and market forces
According to the minister, online gambling is one of the riskiest forms of gambling and, concerned about the surge in casino players reported by Swedish online operators due to a lack of betting on sports, he initially warned that some restrictions were looming in the industry. The initial suggestion was a temporary closure of online casinos.
Deposit and timing
It turned out that a weekly gambling limit of SEK 5,000, combined with a corresponding loss limit for slot machines, as well as mandatory voluntary time limits for online casino gambling were in the pipeline.
Minister Shekarabi expressed concern that at a time when the employment of many people in the country was under threat, this activation of online casinos was a clear signal for the government to act to protect consumers.
The role of the regulator
As part of the proposed measures, the country's regulator, Spelinspektionen, would be tasked with submitting monthly reports to the government, taking action to raise public awareness of the self-exclusion register, and suggesting further measures to protect players from undue harm.
And we remind you that the leader of the unregulated Swedish market remains Curacao Casino, from the fact that it is not subject to any restrictions it is the most visited online casino site in Sweden.
In terms of its regulatory responsibilities, Spelinspektionen will need to step up its efforts to prevent unauthorised gambling operators from accessing the local gambling market, using additional tools to do so.
Industry strongly opposes the proposal
As for the measures proposed by the welfare minister, the Swedish online gambling trade association has published a report by independent consulting firm Copenhagen Economics, which clearly shows an overall decline in gambling market competition, with 81% -85% betting on sports, and even lower for online casinos, 72% -78%. In other words, the market has moved away from, not towards, the government's target of 90%.
At the same time, one of the online gambling industry's biggest events, the SBC Digital Summit, is taking place. The five-day virtual conference features an extensive agenda and industry representation from 140 industry executives who have gathered to share their thoughts on how to help the industry recover.
The consensus was that further restrictions could undermine an already disrupted environment and operators must prove that they are not necessary, while maintaining industry standards for customer protection. Some operators said they had stepped up monitoring of risky behaviour to prevent excessive customer losses. Others shared the view that customer habits have changed in the face of isolation, a shift that will even accelerate once restrictions are lifted, as some changes in habits will remain in place forever.