Concerns raised over online casino gambling
The Swedish government, led by its social security minister Ardalan Shekarabi, has introduced strict new rules to protect online gamblers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday morning, Shekarabi outlined these new measures to curtail gambling. Speaking about the current situation, Shekarabi said that it is a
dangerous cocktail of several circumstances that may increase the risk of gambling addiction.”
Shekarabi spoke about the economic impact of this crisis. He touched upon how levels of unemployment and sick leave are increasing, with extensive financial uncertainty in the country. He also underlined the importance of the government quickly acting to protect consumers.
Weekly deposit limit to be enforced
The government’s newly announced rules are set to be rolled out on June 1 and will remain in place until the end of 2020. These rules include limiting how much each person can deposit at an online gambling site in a week to SEK 5,000 ($495).
There will also be further assignments given to the gambling authorities to keep an eye on the market and enact potential further restrictions. This could even result in the online gambling sector being shut down until the pandemic ends.
Efforts to crack down on unlicensed operators targeting Swedish residents will also continue. Before the virus kicked in, the Swedish government had been contemplating a total ban on gambling advertising.
Licensed operators express dismay
Licensed gambling operators in Sweden are said to be dismayed at these curtailments. They are already reeling from the lack of sports betting activity caused by widespread cancellations. As a result, these operators have spent almost 60% less on advertising compared to this time last year.
already reeling from the lack of sports betting activity caused by widespread cancellations
Industry experts fearf that these strict restrictions in Sweden will drive more gamblers to unlicensed sites. If people are subject to a partial or shutdown gambling shutdown in Sweden, they will likely look elsewhere, according to experts. This will further drain government tax revenue.
Impact of coronavirus in Sweden
Sweden has been affected by the ongoing pandemic just like most countries across Europe. However, it has been taking a different approach to the situation in comparison to most countries.
The Swedish government is allowing citizens to frequent pubs, restaurants, and gyms as long as they remain at arm’s length from other people. This is an approach of personal responsibility rather than an enforced lockdown.
To date, more than 16,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Sweden, sadly resulting in 1,937 deaths.