Swedish Market Inquiry Recommends Tighter Gambling Regulations

Sweden’s Gambling Market Inquiry recommends tighter gambling market regulation, including a blanket ban on daytime gambling ads across multiple platforms.

Ban on Daytime Gambling Ads

Amid growing consumer satisfaction with the gambling industry, Sweden finally revealed the results of its comprehensive two-year Gambling Market Inquiry. The results were revealed in a digital press conference hosted by Swedish Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi and Anna-Lena Sörenson, who spearheaded the inquiry endeavor.

The Gambling Market Inquiry was launched in 2019 with the purpose of investigating and evaluating the country’s current marketing restristrictions and aid Sweden’s re-regulation of the local gambling market. It was supposed to be published back in October, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers have concluded that stricter regulation is required and have urged for a number of moves, including a blanket ban on all forms of gamblig advertisements between 6 am and 9 pm. The ban would block the advertisements and marketing of what the Inquiry considers “most risky” games.

Although the details are not clear yet, the ban will very likely apply to the most prominent traditional and digital services, such as TV, radio, podcasts and video-sharing platforms. Sweden is also taking measures to address the impact of black market gambling.

Further Regulatory Measures

The research recommends enhancing Sweden’s prohibition on non-licensed gambling on broadcasting channels. Specifically, it urges for an extension of the ban to all other non-Swedish media and video sharing platforms, which includes giants like Youtube.

The report also calls for a permanent weekly cap of kr5,000 (just under £450) on consumer losses through traditional land-based games. However, gambling games that benefit the public or sponsor good causes should be exempt from the weekly cap, the researchers noted. This would include the national lottery.

Furthermore, the report advises greater clarity to local gambling operators on how to more responsibly deal with consumers. This would be accompanied by what the report refers to as a “law of obligation” on all gambling licenses. This would allow the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) to freely request licenses for information about their operations.

Inquiry Draws Criticism

Anna-Lena Sörenson stated that the inquiry touches on many different aspects of gambling regulations and that some of the suggested solutions would require difficult trade-offs.

Ardalan Shekarabi stressed that the proposals prioritize consumer protection and that it would be used to form the basis of the Swedish Government’s gambling re-regulation.

“It is both about shutting out gaming companies that do not have a licence and ensuring that those who operate here with a licence do so in a responsible manner.”, Mr. Shekarabi added.

The report has drawn criticism from the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS). The association believes that the report should have placed a stronger emphasis on pursuing non-licensed operators rather than imposing penalties on licensed companies.

BOS CEO Gustaf Hoffstedt warned that impeding licensed operators’ marketing was a bad move. According to him, removing non-licensed operators from the market would help to create a better and healthier gambling market.

BOS has also recently slammed the government’s plans of extending casino restrictions to June of next year.

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