Swedish Gambling Market Commission Proposes More Restrictions on iGaming

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The Swedish Gambling Market Commission (Spelmarknadsutredningen) has delivered a report on the country’s igaming regulations. Led by special investigator and former MP, Anna-Lena Sörenson, the report has recommended several stricter controls on the market including a proposal that the national regulator Spelinspektionen should implement a risk classification for gambling products.

The report suggests that games classified as the highest risk should be banned from advertising between 6 am and 9 pm. It also proposes that Sweden should make permanent the SEK5000 deposit limit that has been temporarily imposed for online casino games during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other proposals include the introduction of a law laying out reporting requirements for operators and a relaxation of bonus restrictions for gaming operators that generate funds for charity, such as lotteries, to enable them to better compete against private operators. It also suggests greater controls on unlicensed gaming, which is now subject to a separate enquiry.

The report rejected proposals for statutory levels on horseracing and other sports betting. It also concluded that the Gambling Act was not the correct tool to include controls on loot boxes in video games, which it said should be studied at the European Union level.

“This has been a complex assignment that has touched on a large number of different issues linked to gaming regulation, which in some cases have required difficult trade-offs. I believe that the proposals we come up with today can both contribute to strengthening consumer protection and make regulation more appropriate,” Sörenson said.

“Spelmarknadsutredningen’s report will form an important basis for the Government’s forthcoming measures,” Ardalan Shekarabi, Minister for Social Security, said.

However, the operator association Branscheforenigen för Onlienspel (BOS) expressed alarm at the report’s recommendations.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary-general of BOS, said: “Sweden has invested in a licensing system with 102 operators that offer a high level of consumer protection.

“They pay around SEK4bn annually in gaming tax, invest in workplaces and staff, sponsor Swedish sports and contribute to Swedish technology know-how.

“Banning licensed gaming companies from marketing their services to Swedish consumers while leaving unlicensed companies free to offer their services to Swedish consumers is a bad proposal.

“This only leads to reduced consumer protection and to erode the Swedish gaming market.”

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