The Swedish government has announced its latest plans to extend the existing limitations on the gaming industry until the end of June 2021, citing fears about the current pandemic.
The memorandum contains an extension to a range of ‘temporary measures’ that were implemented earlier this year, such as a deposit limit of SEK 5,000 for online casino games. Until November 23 of this year, it was submitted for consultation.
The current measures, which entered into force on 2 July, faced backlash from the gaming industry after concern was posed by stakeholders about the danger of channelling speeds.
Minister of Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi noted: “We see that the development of COVID-19 is going in the wrong direction in several parts of the country. The situation is very serious. In the wake of the pandemic, we see continued risks in the area of gambling, which means that we need to act to reduce the risks for vulnerable consumers.”
In addition, plans also include a proposed mandatory limit for those wagering at online casinos and ATMs on playing time, while incentives provided by licensees offering online casinos and ATMs would be restricted to SEK 100.
The Swedish regulator warned against the steps when the initial ‘temporary’ rules were implemented during the summer following concerns about unregulated gambling during the global lockdown, claiming that the SEK 5,000 deposit cap would have a ‘marginal impact’ on reducing the number of players gambling during the pandemic.
Spelinspektionen also stressed that if players are to gamble through unlicensed operators, they will have access to fewer consumer protection measures.
The European Gaming and Betting Association, endorsed by the Swedish regulator, added that ‘the proposed deposit limit could have unintended and detrimental effects and harm more customers than they protect’ and ‘will do more to hit gambling and tax revenues.’