Following criticism from the Riksdag’s Constitutional Committee, Swedish gaming regulator BOS has called on the country’s government to lift temporary limitations on the gaming business.
The temporary measures, which target “particularly risky forms of gambling,” took effect on July 2, 2020. They’ve been extended multiple times and will now run until November 14, 2021.
The Constitutional Committee – Sweden’s highest decision-making authority – criticised Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi’s basis for implementing the measures, claiming that the suggestion that online casino gambling would increase during the coronavirus pandemic was derived from the information that would not have allowed such a definitive conclusion to be reached.
Base of statement
In a statement, the Committee said: “The review has also included minister for social security Ardalan Shekarabi’s statement on the basis for temporary gambling regulations.
“It has become clear that the minister has based his statement on information that does not allow for a definite conclusion as to whether gambling had increased or not. The minister is responsible for his opinions and also for the information he provides being correct.”
Shekarabi has introduced a number of notable restrictions, including deposit limitations of SEK 5,000 (£422/€492) for games at online casinos, as well as a loss limit of SEK 5,000 (£422/€492) for games at ATMs.
Furthermore, both online casino and ATM users are required to establish time limitations on their play, and bonuses granted by licensees who provide online casinos and ATMs are limited to a maximum of SEK 100.
Swedish gaming business
BOS, as well as other industry heavyweights, have consistently criticised the limits, claiming that the newest extension will affect the Swedish gaming business even more.
Furthermore, BOS has said that the restrictions may hurt Swedish customers by reducing consumer protection, as well as underlining channelization concerns.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary General of BOS said: “Everyone has known that there was no basis for the statement about the alleged increased online casino gambling.
“It is welcome that the Riksdag’s Constitutional Committee now confirms that. Ministers must have a basis for their statements, it is not enough to say things just because it fits into the policy you want to pursue.
“The minister’s statements about the alleged but unfounded increase in online casinos during the pandemic are the main reason why this form of gambling is still subject to very strict temporary restrictions. The next step must reasonably be for the government to quickly end these restrictions.”
The Swedish Gambling Inspectorate, Spelinspektionen, adopted proposals for further regulation of Sweden’s gambling business earlier this year, despite some reservations.
The authority supported a rewrite of advertising regulations and the establishment of software provider licences, although it opposed the imposition of loss restrictions.