Research carried out by BonusFinder using Google Trends has shown that in the last 12 months, the number of searches for unlicensed casino brands targeting Sweden has risen by 305%.
This has prompted BonusFinder to advise the Swedish government to rethink its plans to impose more restrictions on online gambling due to the current pandemic or face long-term effects of a sharp increase in black market crime.
Data has also shown that searches for ‘casino utan licenses’ have seen an rise of 710% compared to 173% in ‘online casino’ over the past 12 months.
By formally responding to a consultation, Bonusfinder cautioned that introducing more restrictive legislation would result in a “long-lasting diversion of players” to unlicensed sites and present “a greater risk to Swedish consumers, legal licensees and the licenced market.”
Fintan Costello, managing director of BonusFinder.com, said: “We understand the Swedish government has put forward its proposals with the best intentions to protect its citizens, but as our research has shown, the existing restrictive measures have resulted in a large number of players turning to unlicensed operators outside of the legal framework and without any protection. Channelisation rates are falling and unlicensed brands are booming.
“Our message to the government is to seriously reconsider its proposals. More stringent measures would only serve to further fuel the existing black market. The consequences of these actions would be felt for a long period of time as players lost to the illegal offering would not easily return to regulated sites once measures are lifted.”
It follows the initial research of BonusFinder, announced in March of it year, which found that nearly a third of Swedish online casino players are looking for ‘unlicensed casinos’ due to the implementation in January 2019 of stringent gaming regulations.
The latest proposals of the Swedish Government include the implementation of tighter SEK100 (€8) incentive thresholds, as well as compulsory weekly SEK5000 (€458) deposit thresholds, which will be in effect for an initial six-month duration from June 1.