BOS continues industry criticism of proposed extension to Swedish gambling restrictions

By Iqbal Johal

Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) has called for the proposed extension of temporary online restrictions in Sweden to be withdrawn as they don’t offer protection to consumers.

The Swedish trade association for online gambling has been critical of the Swedish government’s implementation of online restrictions in July, aimed to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Restrictions include a maximum weekly deposit limit of SEK 5,000 ($585.76) for online casino players and a SEK 100 limit on bonus offers, with the Ministry of Finance proposing to extend the measures from the start of next year, until at least 30 June 2021.

The industry has been extremely vocal about these measures, with BOS secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt previously telling Gambling Insider that the restrictions will drive players to the black market and expects channelisation rates to drop further.

While in July, Videoslots general counsel Ewout Wierda told us there was no evidence to suggest a shift towards problem gambling during lockdown and that the industry “should be very concerned” with an increase in unlicensed play.

Earlier this week, Kindred Group followed in criticising the government, with CEO Henrik Tjärnström saying it hasn’t “accounted for any facts that supports the need for restrictions” and are a “step in the wrong direction”

Now, Hoffstedt has reiterated his stance in his reply submitted to the Ministry of Finance earlier this week, describing the move as reducing the duty of care to players.

He said: “The first consequence is that high-volume gamblers who play within the licensing system increase their number of accounts to several different gambling companies in order to avoid the deposit limit.

“Therefore, the gambling companies no longer get an overall picture of the individual player's gambling behavior.

“The possibility of taking protective measures against excessive gambling in accordance with the statutory duty of care is lost. The duty of care is the cornerstone of consumer protection in Swedish gambling regulation, which is now largely put out of action by the government.”

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