The restrictions were first put forward by Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs, as a reaction to the increase in online gambling during the coronavirus pandemic. Shekarabi proposed that a weekly deposit limit of SEK5,000 should be imposed on players along with a SEK100 cap on bonuses starting on the 1st June until the end of the year.
EGBA’s secretary-general, Maarten Haijer, expressed his concern regarding the restrictions:
“We understand that politicians seek to reassure and protect their citizens during these difficult times, but the proposed gambling restrictions could actually harm more customers than they protect.
Many Swedes are already gambling on unlicensed websites and these restrictions will make unlicensed websites – which don’t apply any limits – even more attractive to them.”
The EGBA’s Proposal
EGBA said that a more effective method of preventing harmful gambling during the coronavirus pandemic would be to focus solely on customers that are high-risk. The EGBA said that data from numerous countries such as the UK, Denmark and Belgium demonstrate that online gambling has reduced significantly.
The Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen) agreed with the EGBA’s statement and said that the limits could drive customers away from Sweden’s licensed market and towards unlicensed providers that do not take steps to protect consumers via implementing responsible gambling measures and limits.
Haijer also claimed that top-down regulation is rarely effective in solving issues with problem gambling as consumers will simply find alternative methods.
A number of Swedish online casinos have criticised the measures, warning that it could make it more difficult to track consumer behaviour as players would switch between operators more regularly.
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