Spelinspektionen Continues To Oppose Casino Stake Limits For Being Too Strict
Sweden’s gaming regulator, Spelinspektionen, once again spoke out against the forthcoming stake limits for local operators, contending that the changes would only add to the already considerable difficulties of enforcing current gaming rules.
The changes, spearheaded by Ardalan Shekarabi, the country’s Minister for Social Security, was originally supposed to apply from June 1.
The most prominent change was the instituting of a weekly stake limit of SEK5,000 ($495). This was later amended by the Swedish government, who moved the starting date to July 2, and mandated that the new rules would apply only to online casino offerings.
Spelinspektionen believes that the new rules are too difficult to enforce, even with the new July 2 deadline. Furthermore, they doubled down on earlier criticisms against the new rules, stating that the potential benefits were marginal, and may lead to a surge of punters to black market sites.
BOS Launches Petition Against New Rules
The new regulations have garnered much criticism from a number of stakeholders. The association for online gambling operators Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) echoed Spelinspektionen’s concerns regarding players moving to illicit sites, launching a campaign against the proposed rule changes—containing the signatures of chief executives of prominent operators, such as Kindred Group, NetEnt, Betson, William Hill, and LeoVegas.
BOS also noted that the rules’ shift from all gambling operators to just online operators seem to be driven by the benefits it could bring to businesses with government stakes, such as ATG, the former horse racing monopoly. Swedish punters would not be any safer with the new rules, said BOS.
EGBA Supports BOS and Spelinspektionen Position
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) supported the contentions of both BOS and Spelinspektionen. According to EGBA, the new regulations are not backed by the latest evidence and appear to have been made with concerns other than player safety.
EGBA warns that severely limiting the ability of online operators to cater to their customers may end up harming the players, as they would simply move to sites with zero restrictions, where problem gamblers will not be protected at all. Furthermore, the Swedish government will be losing out on tax revenues from increased black market site activity, and force licensed operators to pull out from the market.
A number of Swedish operators have stepped up to offer other suggestions geared toward player safety that they said would be more effective for punters and operators, as well as more enforceable for Spelinspektionen.