Sweden Approves Online Gambling Restrictions, Suspends 10 Licenses

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The hotly-debated online gambling restrictions will be enacted, the Swedish government has confirmed, setting strict depositing limits and time session restrictions. The measures will last through 2020.

Sweden to Enact Consumer Protection Measures

The Swedish government made good on its promise to introduce temporary restrictions for online gambling, with new safety mechanisms rolling in to boost player protection during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The measures are designed to protect vulnerable players from gambling-related harm and they will come into effect on July 2. According to officials, the measures will remain in place through 2020, limiting online casino games as well as online slot machines.

As a result, players will be limited to $500 weekly deposit caps and companies will only be able to offer bonus no greater than SEK100, roughly $10. In addition to these limitations, players will now have to set time limits on how long they can participate in any online casino gaming.

Commenting on these developments, Sweden’s Social Security Minister, Ardalan Shekarabi, said that the present lockdown created a “mix of circumstances” that could all lead to great risks for consumers in the gaming sector. As a result, Shekarabi continued, these potential dangers needed to be counteracted quickly and decisively.

The minister has also commissioned the Public Health Authority in the country to conduct further studies examining gambling behavior during the pandemic. “We need a deeper knowledge of how problem gambling is influenced by the outbreak,” commented Social Minister Lena Hallengren.

New Limitations on Online Gambling Aren’t Welcome

Even when they were debated, the proposed measures led to a wave of protest with established operators cautioning that the move, while seemingly helpful, would boost the offshore online gambling segment disproportionately.

According to figures cited by the country’s gambling regulator, offshore gambling could see an 80% increase in operations, diminishing any worth the introduced measures might have originally had. Swedish operators signed a petition organized by the Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), the country’s gambling operator association, urging Shekarabi not to pass the measures.

Among the companies to sign the petition were William Hill, Kindred Group, LeoVegas, Betsson and world-renowned developer of iGaming products, NetEnt. Many now believe that the decision condemns the online gambling market to lawlessness.

Spelinspektionen Suspends 10 More Licenses

While the Swedish market is about to undergo a significant change the Spelinspektionen has been homing in on operators without a proper license. In total, ten businesses have been ordered to suspend as many as 45 brands in the country.

The regulated said that the affiliates had been purposefully targeting Swedish consumers via payment methods and bonuses. Of the ten businesses targeted, six were based in Curacao with the rest in Cyprus and Malta, Europe’s remote gambling hubs and licensing authorities.

So far, Spelinspektionen has suspended 20 operators for system failure to meet with the industry’s high consumer protection and regulatory standards. The highest-profile case was the one involving 1xBet.

Meanwhile, Betsson announced that it would appeal a recently issued fine to the tune of $2.2 million. Spelinspektionen issued the fine on June 10, after it identified regulatory failings and argued that there had been a scheme to sell vouchers to fund online accounts carried out by unauthorized businesses.

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