The chief executives of some of the leading online gambling companies in Sweden have set out a proposal for achieving a safer gambling market, while at the same time warning lawmakers that arbitrary changes in the regulated market will drive consumers to unlicensed providers.

The CEOs of Betsson, Kindred, LeoVegas, NetEnt, William Hill, ComeOn, Videoslots, Hero Gaming, SupNnation and Swedish online gaming association BOS issued the proposal Monday, setting out seven areas of focus for achieving safer gambling.

The first concerns licenses and calls on the government to extend the current licensing requirement for consumer-facing operators to also include gaming solutions providers and marketing affiliates, with the aim of discouraging participation in the unregulated market and channelling consumers to legal providers.

They also call for better promotion of the national gambling self-exclusion system Spelpaus to raise awareness among consumers, and for Swedish authorities to make use of anonymised behavioural data held by operators to increase their understanding of gambling habits and risks.

Other measures include addressing the risk of problem gamblers falling into debt, particularly in the instant lending market, with the chief executives noting that while they are in a position to asses a customer’s liquidity, they do not have the tools to determine if this was earned or borrowed.

To help problem gamblers more effectively, they recommend the introduction of a self-exclusion system to allow individuals to restrict their access to loans in the same way that they can opt out of online gambling.

They also state that problem gambling is an individual behaviour and therefore risk should be addressed at an individual level not a product level, and note that greater collaboration between operators and regulators in this area is possible through data sharing, although currently restricted by European data protection laws.

“The Ministry of Finance’s proposal for placing further restrictions on the Swedish gambling market has been met by strong and unanimous criticism. All stakeholders in the gambling industry (state and private), as well as sports clubs, the Swedish Gambling Authority, and international and national media have all stated that the proposals are unrealistic and how they play into the hands of the unlicensed market,” said the chief executives.

“The Minister for Public Administration then chose to adjust the proposals somewhat, but only to improve conditions for state-controlled companies. Now a new report shows that implementing deposit limits on online casinos alone would mean that almost half of all bets would end up being placed with unlicensed companies.

“The entire Swedish gambling industry has been beset by uncertainty, with many customers abandoning licensed companies and moving instead to unlicensed companies,” they added. “If we don’t start to cooperate and introduce long-term measures grounded in facts, we risk turning back the clock to what the market looked like prior to re-regulation.”

Gambling Intelligence

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