All around the globe the Coronavirus is affecting and their daily activities. Each country is taking the necessary measures to protect citizens and lessen the effect of the outbreak.
For countries such as Sweden, the outbreak provides alternative issues to focus on. One of the main concerns for Swedish Government officials is how it affects online casino gamblers.
As such, they announced new measures which will be put in place to reduce the risks of gambling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The plan for these measures announced on 23rd April and are yet to take effect.
Currently, the Government is receiving a lot of pushback on these new proposed measures with no set a date for approval. The focus is to have these measures in place from 1st June 2020 until 1st January 2021.
Proposed measures for online gambling
The new restrictive measures include several limits on all gambling activities. These are currently still in the planning and have not yet taken effect. These include:
- Deposit limits of SEK 5,000 ($509) per week for all gaming accounts.
- Mandatory time limits on all online casino games and vending machines.
- A maximum limit of SEK 100 on all casino bonus offers.
Additional measures include increased reporting between the SGA and the Government on all developments within the gaming market. Steps were taken to increase public knowledge of the Self-exclusion system Spelpaus.se as well as the increased supervision of all illegal operators.
Additional safety measures are also being drafted to increase player protection at legal gaming sites.
Strong pushback from industry operators
The proposed measures are somewhat of a delicate topic, not many players or operators are happy with. These restrictive measures added to the existing regulations will help prevent and stop problem gambling and enhance player protection.
While the idea is to help residents and society, in general, there has been a lot of push back from industry giants. The Swedish operator association Branscheforenigen for Onlinespel (BOS) has already prepared a petition to reject these measures. Currently over a dozen gaming operators have joined in on the petition.
The Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen), has stated that while they agree with implementing rules to enhance player protection, they are deeply concerned about the negative effect the measures might have on the market if implemented with haste.
There is a massive concern that the proposed measures will result in an even bigger decline of the online casino market and force players to seek gaming entertainment at black market operated sites.
Concern on market growth
The Swedish Government has honourable intentions to protect players and curb problem gambling. There is, however growing concerns regarding how the already strict regulations and new measures will affect the market.
While the Government has stated the market is growing, there is data that suggests the market in the region is currently shrinking.
Many industry giants are coming together and urging the Swedish Government to focus its power on curbing illegal gambling operations instead of adding more limits to legal gambling operations.