BOS welcomes Sweden’s decision not to restrict gambling marketing hours

BOS welcomes Sweden’s decision not to restrict gambling marketing hours

The final version of the Swedish government’s gambling reform bill doesn’t include time restrictions for gambling ads.

The Swedish online gaming trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) has welcomed the government’s apparent decision not to limit the hours that gambling ads can be shown.

The Swedish government has published the final version of its gambling reform bill, which introduces a requirement for new B2B licences. However, plans to limit the hours for gambling advertising appear to have been shelved, with the law only introducing “adjusted moderation”, which will be less severe than the “special moderation” imposed on alcohol marketing.

Under this standard, “the marketing of games must be adapted to take special account of the fact that different forms of gambling entail different risks of addiction”. However, it will not include the previous proposal to restrict the advertising of “high-risk” to between 9pm and 6am.

The government said it had determined that such a measure could “adversely impact channelling and media revenues” while still exposing the players most at risk.

BOS secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt said the industry was “cautiously positive” about the bill.

He said: “The most striking thing is actually what is not included in the proposal, such as a ban on advertising for gambling on TV, radio and streaming media between 6am and 9pm.

“We are pleased that the government has listened to stakeholders in the gambling industry as well as several publishers who have pointed out the disadvantages of such a proposal.”

However, Hoffstedt added that the term “adjusted moderation” was ambiguous, leaving the industry with doubts about what marketing is allowed.

He said: “The remaining concern is the proposal for ‘adjusted moderation’. It seems to be a paraphrase of risk classification and the ambiguity of what it actually means is open to legal uncertainty.

“Here, the legislature should consider whether it really wants to introduce further uncertainty regarding the interpretation of regulatory measures, uncertainty that risks leading to protracted court proceedings.”

Sweden’s gambling reform bill

Other proposals to make the final version of the bill include the introduction of mandatory licences for B2B gaming software providers. Suppliers who offer services to gaming operators in Sweden would need a licence, which would have an application fee of SEK120,000 (€11,170) and remain valid for up to five years.

Licensees must have a headquarters in the European Economic Area or open an office in Sweden. The government said this measure would help reduce unlicensed gambling.

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