Sweden Contemplating Extension Of Bonus Limits & Temp Deposits Till June 2021
Sweden has some of the most stringent online gambling laws in the world. The government decided to amp those restrictions up further during the COVID-19 lockdown as it wanted to protect vulnerable individuals from being targeted by iGaming operators during this period.
The government imposed bonus limits and temporary deposit limits during the lockdown phase. The deposit limit was fixed at SEK 5,000 for online casino games. These measures were supposed to be in place till 31 December 2020.
The Swedish government is reviewing a proposal from Ardalan Shekarabi, Minister for Social Security pushing for these restrictions to continue till mid-2021. This new push does not come as a big surprise as Sweden like a number of other EU countries has put in place new COVID-19 restrictions to stem the flow of new cases.
Shekarabi wants the deposit limit of SEK 5,000 to be in place and a same limit for online gambling losses. There will also be a time limit restriction imposed on play time at online casinos. Licensed iGaming operators were restricted to offering only a SEK 100 bonus during the lockdown and the proposal is to have this bonus restriction continue till June 2021.
iGaming operators protested initially when these stipulations were introduced in April 2020 but the government decided to go ahead and asked operators to implement it from July 2, 2020. This time around, the government is reviewing the extension proposal and stakeholders will be required to submit their views by Nov 23 to the Ministry of Finance.
Licensed gambling operators have once again protested the proposed extension, claiming that there is no valid data to prove iGaming spiked during the lockdown. On the contrary, they have cited data from the Swedish Gambling Authority which showed iGaming numbers have actually dropped since the lockdown.
Protection Over Revenues
While iGaming operators in most parts of the world have reported a significant increase in online gambling traffic and revenue, operators in Sweden have reported the opposite. A local media outlet claimed that licensed operators have reported a 30 percent decline in local revenue during June and August 2020.
Licensed operators have asked the gambling regulator and the government to not proceed with these restrictive regulations as it would not only hurt their revenues but drive Swedish gamblers to unlicensed sites. However, those cries continue to fall on deaf ears as the Swedish government believes that it need to step up and protect its citizens and not priority iGaming revenues over their health.