Swedish gambling regulator backs stricter online casino limits for future crises
Spelinspektionen’s interim report on Sweden’s temporary Covid-19 online casino limits has suggested stricter limits “may be preferable” in the future.
The Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has published its interim report on the impact of the country’s temporary online casino restrictions which were imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. It found that the impact of the measures was impossible to determine but still said it would support their use in the future.
Sweden imposed a SEK 5,000 (€471) deposit limit and SEK 100 (€10) bonus limit from July 2020 until November last year. It also placed a limit on login time for online gaming. The measures were introduced due to fears that Sweden’s Covid-19 lockdown could cause an increase in problem gaming.
While Spelinspektionen initially criticised the measures as unworkable, it later said it would not oppose a reintroduction of limits in the wake of a rise in Covid-19 cases earlier this year. The plan to reintroduce online casino deposit limits was eventually abandoned, but now the regulator says it will support their use “in the event of future crisis”.
The regulator said the measures introduced in 2020 had strengths and weaknesses but that it was impossible to fully determine the impact they had made due to the fact that Sweden’s regulated online casino market only opened 18 months before they were introduced.
Stricter online casino limits “may be preferable”
However, Spelinspektionen said it believed that for many players the SEK 5,000 limit was too high, and that there were players who spent less than this amount but still gambled “in an unhealthy way”.
It suggested that if the need for limits arises in the future, stricter requirements “may be preferable”. When the government proposed reintroducing restrictions, it wanted to impose a lower limit of SEK 4,000.
While operators apposed the deposit cap from the outset, the regulator noted that surveys suggested the public was generally in favour of the measures. A “Games about money and health” survey of 4,178 people found that 60 per cent supported them. A Svenska Spel study found that 52 per cent of its customers agreed with the measures.
However, the regulator also recognised that a study by Stockholm University concluded that that there was no increase in either online gambling or problem gambling during the initial phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Sweden’s government has approved proposals for new safer gambling and consumer protection measures, including new limits on advertising and measures against unlicensed operators.
Under the proposals, there will be mandatory licensing of third-party games and software providers that service Swedish licensed operators and online casino games will be moderated, with the riskiest being subject to enhanced measures to protect young and vulnerable audiences.
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