Sweden Equality Commission Report Calls For Online Gambling Time Limits

  • The report suggests that online casino gambling contributes the most to gambling addiction
  • The Equality Commission would like to see online gambling time limits studied
  • The commission proposed a possible portal to monitor the industry and 24-hour deposit limits
  • Advertising restrictions are also being considered, including adding warnings to gambling ads
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Sweden’s Equality Commission has released a report calling for major changes to Sweden’s online gambling industry, including time limits on users’ play. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

New report suggests major industry changes

Jämlikhetskommissionen, Sweden’s Equality Commission, recently completed a new report calling for the implementation of online gambling time limits along with other changes such as a portal to enforce deposit limits.

a way to move toward long-term economic equality and increased social mobility opportunities

The recommendations are framed as a way to move toward long-term economic equality and increased social mobility opportunities. The report suggests that online gambling, particularly online casino gaming, is a vertical that is more likely to lead to a gambling problem.

Online gambling time limits

The commission recommended that there should be limited available hours for gambling. A suggestion for exactly what hours should be allowed was not provided, though the commission did state that an investigation should take place to create a concrete proposal on the matter. According to the commission, a large percentage of gambling takes place on Fridays and Saturdays.

The report found that stake limits can also help in fighting addiction issues by providing a break from gaming. Right now, such tools are limited based on the individual operator. The commission suggests creating a national monitoring platform that will cover the entire regulated market. Player activity could then be tracked across license holders and the process of tackling addition would be more effective.

The portal could be used to set deposit limits per 24 hours. Jämlikhetskommissionen said that more insight is needed into this option and a proposal should be drawn up to show how such a platform would work.

The commission also felt that that an annual deposit limit should be discussed, but did not include this option within its recommendations.

Restrictions in Advertising

Along with the above changes, the Equality Commission is also focusing on advertising within the online gambling industry. It feels that additional restrictions may be needed to help with gambling addiction. According to the report, the individuals who respond most to advertising have a high level of impulse-driven consumption. The commission said:

This risks leading to overconsumption, problem gambling, gambling abuse or displacement of necessary spending.”

In the report, the commission suggests adding warnings to advertising, similar to what is done on products like cigarettes. Message suggestions include “gambling addiction increases the risk of suicide” or “most people who gamble lose money.”

For this type of warning to be added to advertising, a change is needed in the country’s constitution, disconnecting gambling advertising from free speech laws. The commission feels the change would be positive for the most part, but could lead to operators losing revenues.

Help from the Swedish government

The report also suggests that the Swedish government step in and contribute to local and municipal governments to help create a better framework for gambling addiction treatment. The Healthcare Act and Social Services Act place local governments in charge of providing problem gambling assistance, but there are no new resource options for the local governments to use to meet this responsibility.

The commission would like to see the government contribute funds to help the municipalities be able to provide preventative treatment and care to problem gamblers.

Recent deposit and bonus limits

The report by Jämlikhetskommissionen comes around two months after the Swedish government decided to impose new restrictions on online gambling. In mid-June, a temporary regulation was approved to impose a weekly deposit ceiling per player of SEK5,000 ($539.43). This limit is set for online gambling and vending machines.

Bonus offers are capped at SEK100 ($10.79).

Online gambling operators in Sweden are also limited to how much they can offer via bonus promotions. Bonus offers are capped at SEK100 ($10.79). These new measures are in place until the end of 2020.