The world, as we know, it is changing in the face of a global pandemic and the rise of COVID-19.
Across the globe, governments are making decisions that they believe will keep people safe from harm and ensure that everyone rides out the pandemic responsibly.
In some countries, this has meant the banning of alcohol and cigarette sales during a national lockdown, while others are looking at online gambling habits.
Sweden takes a hard look at online gambling
The rise of the coronavirus has forced people to spend more time indoors than ever before. Due to this, online casino operators have been taking precautions to protect players from spending more than they normally would – purely out of boredom.
Responsible gambling is an important factor for all online gambling sites to consider and to encourage. It’s of the utmost importance for players to take every precaution during a time such as this.
Not only are online operators being encouraged to warn players of problem gambling but the Swedish government is stepping in to do their part.
Up until recently, Sweden was taking a very relaxed approach to deal with COVID-19. However, Swedish people are still spending more time inside, despite the lack of hard and fast rules, to protect themselves from potential illness.
With this, the government has seen a rise in online casino activity and they feel that extreme measures may need to be taken. These measures could include shutting down online casinos temporarily or changing laws during this time.
“Extraordinary measures” may be on the cards
Data provided by Spelinspektionen showed a 33% spike in online casino registrations over a 2 week period. It was also revealed by BonusFinder that more than one-third of Swedish gamblers searched for unlicensed online casinos to circumnavigate Sweden’s strict gambling laws.
The Swedish government’s announcement that they are considering shutting down online casinos in the light of this news had operators and stakeholders up in arms.
BonusFund’s managing director, Fintan Costello, commented on the possible changes, saying:
“The Swedish government will make a colossal mistake if it chooses to temporarily close down online casino sites in an attempt to protect players. As our research has shown, almost a third of online casino players are already looking to the black market for a more attractive offering since restrictive rules were imposed in January 2019. These latest plans would create an immediate black-market boom.”
“The focus should instead be on ensuring these are adhered to rather than taking a knee jerk reaction to close down all legitimate brands and forcing even more players to unprotected sites”, continued Costello.
While it’s not yet clear what the Swedish government intends to do, many feel that harsh changes would simply push players to find illegal alternatives when already they have nothing better to do with their time.
Safer online gambling around the world
Forced into isolation, many gamblers are faced with spending time alone or playing at their favourite online casinos. This spike in activity has shown gambling lawmakers that responsible gambling measures are more important than ever before.
Other gambling regulators have also stepped in to make changes and reiterate the importance of responsible gambling measures such as setting a budget. The British Gambling Commission, Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden and the Belgian Gaming Commission have all reached out to their players to ensure a safer gambling environment.