Kindred: Decision to extend Swedish gambling restrictions “step in the wrong direction”

By Iqbal Johal

Kindred Group believes there is no evidence that problem gambling has risen in Sweden despite the government extending the temporary online restrictions it introduced in the summer.

The Swedish government introduced online gaming restrictions from 2 July, to combat a potential rise in problem gambling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions include a maximum weekly deposit limit of SEK 5,000 ($582.12) for online casino players and a SEK 100 limit on bonus offers.

The restrictions were originally meant to last until the end of the year but earlier this month, the Ministry of Finance in Sweden proposed the temporary measures be extended until at least 30 June 2021.

Kindred slammed the proposed extension, stating the government “has not accounted for any facts that supports the need for restrictions”, and has failed to take measures to encourage players to “choose licensed operators instead of unlicensed.”

The operator, which is publicly listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, also mentioned that it believes the Swedish government has failed to make efforts to combat the decreasing channelisation rate, which it says was “below 72-78% for online casino” before the restrictions were introduced.

Kindred Group CEO Henrik Tjärnström, said: ”During these seven months that the restrictions have been in place, the Swedish government have not been taking any measures to determine the level of channelisation, they have not accounted for any measures against unlicensed operators in Sweden, and they cannot present any notable connections between the pandemic and increased problem gambling in Sweden at licensed Swedish operators.

“What we can see is a lower channelisation and an increased activity at unlicensed operators with zero consumer protection. That is a step in the wrong direction, and it is not the gambling policy decided by the Swedish Parliament.”

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