BonusFinder fears that a closure of Sweden’s online casino scene will spark a “black-market boom,” as operators are advised to curb increased activity triggered by COVID-19 lockdown steps.
Having previously found that nearly one-third of Swedish igaming players are looking for unlicensed casinos, it is reported that government officials are considering a range of ‘strong steps’ due to movement-limiting restrictions.
This week, the minister in charge of gambling policy, Ardalan Shekarabi, cautioned that “extraordinary measures” would be introduced if operators do not take action to slow down the rise in igaming activity seen in the last two weeks, as people are told to stay at home due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
It comes after the country’s regulator has highlighted a 33 percent rise in registration and logins to play online casino games over the past 14 days with 17 of the 60 licenced operators in the country.
However, if a temporary suspension were pursued, BonusFinder warns it will have a catastrophic impact on the industry and push thousands of players into the black market.
Instead of shielding players, the company argues that shutting down online casino brands will likely result in thousands of players looking for and depositing funds on unlicensed platforms, as well as cause potential financial harm to licenced institutions.
Bonusfinder.com’s Managing Director, Fintan 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.
“As our research has shown, almost a third of online casino players are already looking to the black market for a more attractive offering since restrictive rules were imposed in January 2019. These latest plans would create an immediate black-market boom.
“Swedish legislation requires operators to have strict responsible gambling procedures in place, therefore the right measures are already there. The focus should instead be on ensuring these are adhered to rather than taking a knee jerk reaction to close down all legitimate brands and forcing even more players to unprotected sites.”