Back to COVID-19 caps?
The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, known locally as Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), has warned the government against bringing back a deposit limit on online casino play.
limit players’ weekly online casino deposits to SEK4,000 ($440.49)
The Swedish Ministry of Finance launched a consultation Tuesday proposing a new measure to limit players’ weekly online casino deposits to SEK4,000 ($440.49), which is SEK1,000 ($110.39) less than the previous limit lifted in November.
BOS castigated the proposal, sharing its secretary-general Gustaf Hoffstedt’s take via Twitter:
Hoffstedt believes players that want to gamble over the proposed limit will simply set up accounts with multiple operators. In contrast, the Swedish government has justified the consultation by claiming it aims to protect vulnerable players in the face of a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The proposed start date for the new limit is February 7, with the so-called temporary measure in place until June 30.
Singing from an old hymn sheet
The Swedish government also used its player protection argument to justify the previous online casino deposit cap of SEK5,000 ($548.76) enforced between July 2 2020 and November 14 2021.
Perennial thorn in the side of BOS, Minister of Social Insurance Ardalan Shekarabi, got onto Twitter to tout the proposing of “stricter rules […] during the pandemic, as a result of the current situation”:
BOS derided Shekarabi’s desire to “tighten consumer protection, not least to protect the most vulnerable consumers,” as having something of an opposite effect.
Hoffstedt said that since the introduction of deposit limits, BOS had seen a “sharp increase” in the multiple gaming accounts to individual player ratio. As result, he claims gaming firms can’t capture risky player behavior. Ergo, Hoffstedt’s statement read, “the statutory duty of care, which aims for the gaming company to acquire an overall picture of gaming behavior and offer support to at-risk players, is lost.”
rethink and safeguard consumer protection”
The BOS statement posted on Tuesday concluded by urging the government to “rethink and safeguard consumer protection in the Swedish gaming market.”
BOS has condemned Shekarabi’s beliefs before. In June 2021, the online trade body declared the minister’s claim that online gambling increased during the pandemic as “unfounded.”
Even the SGA has suggested previously that imposing restrictions would only have a negligible effect on reducing problem gambling. Despite drawing repeated fire from many gambling operators and stakeholders, Shekarabi will likely get his wish again, leading to what Hoffstedt believes will remove “a cornerstone of Swedish consumer protection in the gaming law.”