LeoVegas: Swedish Proposals Are ‘Unfound And Unjustified’

LeoVegas believes that ‘unfounded and unjustified’ are the recent proposals by the Swedish government to tighten restrictions on the online casino sector during COVID-19.

This comes after the proposal by the Ministry of Finance to place additional restrictions on the Swedish gambling market was met by ‘strong and unanimous criticism’ with different stakeholders in the gambling industry, state and private, along with the Swedish Gambling Authority, sports clubs and international and national media stating the proposals as ‘unrealistic.’

This follows an independent Copenhagen Economics study which illustrated that enforcing deposit limits on online casinos would result in ‘nearly half of all bets’ being placed with unlicensed businesses.

The report , based on turnover data, consumer surveys , interviews and international research, shows that online casino channelling is predicted to fall from 75% to 52-63% if deposit limits are introduced.

LeoVegas emphasised in a letter sent to the Ministry of Finance that there is ‘no reason to drive through temporary regulations’ as the company believes online casinos are ‘not a particularly dangerous type of game.’

LeoVegas said in a media release: “Talking about online casinos that are particularly risky is wrong, there is no research that supports this claim.

“LeoVegas’ view is that there is not an increased risk in the gaming vertical online casino because, according to the duty of care, follows a type of individualised risk classification.

“Furthermore, LeoVegas wishes to highlight the fact that the Spelinspektionen has implemented a number of supervisory measures and imposed supervision fees and warnings to most companies with a Swedish license since the Gaming Act came into force in January 2019.”

The letter was sent in response to the proposed interim measures by the Ministry of Finance to improve the security of players during the pandemic.

nThe business acknowledged that it holds the view of the government that strong player safety is of ‘utmost importance’ but emphasised that it is ‘crucial’ that reforms in current gaming legislation be ‘based on facts and thorough impact assessments’ in order to achieve the ‘intended effect and impact.’

The Statement continued: “The revised proposal has not raised this concern, rather the opposite. The measures proposed undoubtedly have a significant effect on them licensed players operating in the Swedish gaming market and LeoVegas is convinced that the proposals presented by the government run the risk of eroding and destroying the licensing system as with broad political majority became reality in early 2019, a system with a strong focus on consumer protection and increased state control.”

LeoVegas highlighted that online casino operation was down from last year’s corresponding time during March and April of this year.

The company pointed out that in the interim report published by the regulator on May 19, based on statistics from the Swedish Tax Office, online casinos decreased their revenue in March 2020 by six percent compared to March 2019.

In April 2020, preliminary net sales for online casinos fell by 5.4 percent compared with April 2019.

In addition, LeoVegas reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic the help line had seen a decrease in the number of contacts, both call contacts and visit the website.

It concludes: “The guide can not see any increase in the level of gambling problems during the corona pandemic compared to before. Nor does the industry see any trends in increased risk behaviour or problem gambling.”