The Swedish government is considering a temporary shutdown for online casinos amid the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
The Government Offer Towards Firm Regulations of the Online Gambling
So far only a suggestion, government ministers from Sweden are considering temporary shutdown of online casinos or applying updated and stricter regulations for online industry suppliers to follow. This is once again a negative consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to grow.
Earlier this week, Ardalan Shekarabi, minister for Social Security of Sweden announced that “extraordinary measures” may be applied for any gambling supplier that does not protect their clients due to the increased interest in online gambling caused by the coronavirus. While the country still hasn’t applied a strict lockdown, some restrictions on movement have taken place.
Are There Benefits for Applying Strict Measures
Sweden’s secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt of the trade association for online gambling (Branschföreningen för Onlinespel) noted that it isn’t yet clear what the government will take as a final decision regarding the restrictions towards the gambling industry. In his own words, he is worried that further strict regulatory measures can result in many users trying to connect to casino operators that are not licensed. Such actions can endanger the consumer’s own funds but also the licensed operators that are still in business.
According to Hoffstedt the government set a goal to channelize the users towards 90% of the licensed market, but so far this number is about 75%. In his words:
Sweden is struggling with low channelization rates when it comes to online casino, regardless of any possible additional restrictions for Swedish licensed operators”. Hoffstedt continued with: “To worsen the conditions for the Swedish licensed operators would not be a particularly smart move”.
Will Sweden Make a Similar move like Europe
BonusFinder managing director, Fintan Costello, announced a similar statement to Hoffstedt’s. Costello said:
The Swedish government will make a colossal mistake if it chooses to temporarily close down online casino sites in an attempt to protect players”.
He continued by explaining that the majority of players are now considering turning to black markets due to the more liberal rules of engagement there. Sweden introduced new casino legislation in January 2019, changing how the market is regulated completely. However, many players from the country kept turning to black markets as the country has taken a tougher stance on bonuses and gambling in general.
Due to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 in Europe, while Sweden is still considering tighter reins in terms of gambling, some countries already took further action. Earlier this week, Latvia banned online gambling due to the virus. In the United Kingdom – the Gambling Commission restricted VIP schemes for players less than 25 years of age. On the other hand, in Spain, some 60,000 traders and holders of crypto currency will be receiving tax letters from the Spanish tax regulator AEAT.