(Un)succesful regulation in Sweden

Despite the new gambling regulation, the nation’s Spelinspektionen (Gambling authority) estimates that a quarter of all gambling for money in Sweden still takes place outside the licensed system. This has become an embarresment since Minister of Civil Affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, has described the government’s action as successful. Now the government wants to take further measures to try to shutdown unlicensed operators.

Several factors contribute to the success of unlicensed operators,

  • Lack of bonuses. Gambling operators licensed are no longer allowed to offer any bonuses greater than 100 SEK (appx 10 pounds)
  • Spelpaus.se, the Swedish version gamstop that many have regretted signing up for
  • Three seconds rule with casinos. The entertainment and speed rush has drastically decreased due to the fact the you are no longer allowed to spin a slot faster than every third second
  • Maximum deposit of 5000 SEK (500 pounds) per operator and week leading to a constant search of new operators to deposit with, of which some non-licensed

With the Corona crisis, things are going better for many gaming companies than before. When it is not possible to have fun outside the home, more and more people are looking for entertainment online. There is a concern that those who are at risk of becoming addicted to gambling are tempted to gamble if they sit at home. This is something that the National Association of Gambling Addicts has noticed, as an increased number of worried relatives have heard about it. However, they have not seen any major increase in members, but fear that the increase will be visible in the autumn.

If the government is unsuccessful in taking down unlicensed companies, they send conflicting signals to the gaming companies that are actually licensed. Of course, the fact that some companies can avoid paying tax and follow the licensing rules without sanctions is not sustainable. Therefore, there are plans for further action against the unlicensed gaming companies.

Ardalan Shekarabi recently said that it will continue to limit the aggressive gambling advertising, and also instruct the Gambling Authority to identify measures that a number of other authorities must also follow. This may, for example, be the case that the Swedish Public Employment Service should not encourage employment with gaming companies that do not have a Swedish license, or that the police must prioritize taking legal action against both companies and persons who violate Swedish gaming laws. Efforts will also be made to expand collaborations with foreign authorities and work more to introduce payment blockages to prevent Swedish players from depositing money on casino sites without a Swedish license.

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