Sweden’s online gambling industry association, Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), has called on the government to discard a proposal for tighter advertising rules for the gambling industry.
Reject the Proposal
The proposal for tighter advertising controls was made in June by the Ministry of Finance as part of a review of the country’s advertising standards, the Gambling Market Inquiry, launched in November 2020. That review looks to evaluate the gambling marketplace after its first year of operation following re-regulation in 2019.
The Ministry of Finance published a memorandum containing a proposal to ramp up treatment of gambling advertising from “moderate” to “special moderation,” leveling up gambling advertising with advertising for alcohol and tobacco. If accepted, gambling advertising materials should include “moderation warnings,” but what is of biggest concern to BOS is the 9 PM watershed on casino and slot product advertisements across TV, radio and digital media.
Last week, Sweden’s gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, released a public response to the “special moderation” proposal put forward, expressing its support for stricter gambling advertising rules, which the regulator believes, will impact positively player protection.
Dent Channelization Rates
Unlike the regulator and advocates of the proposal, who argue the country would simply mirror other European regulatory regimes that enforced a watershed on casino advertising without restricting or prohibiting other types of gambling, BOS firmly believes the measure implementation will further dent legal operators.
This is another proposal from the Government that plays straight into the hands of unlicensed gaming companies in Sweden. The trump card of licensed gaming companies has been the opportunity to market themselves and thus channel gaming consumers into the safe Swedish licensed system.”Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary-General, BOS
While expressing its full support for effective advertising reforms that will support legal operators, BOS reminded the government that it failed to deliver on its target of 90% channelization for the licensed market, outlining the tighter advertising controls would help the growing black market. Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary-General of BOS, asserts, “BOS cannot come to any other conclusion than that the government’s both formal and public opinion outcomes against this form of gambling since the Swedish re-regulation in 2019 is reflected in the catastrophically low channeling of online casinos today.”
Arguing that the restrictions would hardly be implemented to illegal online casino operators, Hoffstedt raised concerns that the licensed online casino vertical that was mostly affected by the enforcement of SEK5000 ($550) loss limit per month would be further affected by the stricter advertising rules and would continue to watch how its revenue leaks to black-market rivals. “In the name of consumer protection, this proposal must be withdrawn,” Hoffstedt concluded.