Spelinspektionen approves reinstatement of Swedish online gambling restrictions

By | January 17, 2022

Camilla Rosenberg, Director General of Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s Gaming Inspectorate has stated that the regulator holds no objections to the re-imposition of temporary liability measures on online casino games. 

Temporary restrictions on online gambling have been reintroduced in Sweden, as both the government and the Swedish Gaming Inspectorate express concerns regarding the spread of the latest COVID-19 Omicron variant . 

Required to provide an opinion, Rosenberg asserted she held no objections to the temporary liability measures being reimposed, but added that it was ‘too early’ for her department to comment on the ongoing and future effects of the policies. 

The temporary measures were first introduced in June of last year amidst the rapid spread of COVID-19  in the Scandinavian country, and included a SEK5,000 weekly deposit limit – with a SEK100 cap on bonus offers – and a mandatory limit on play time.

Introduced by Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi, the measures were said at the time to have been established due to the lockdown situation being a ‘dangerous cocktail of several circumstances that may increase the risk of gambling addiction’.

Due to recent developments in Sweden, the measures will now include a lower weekly deposit limit of SEK 4,000. This decision was made by Shekarabi at the start of this month and are now out for consultation, with a potential start date for this period on 7 February and an end date on 30 June.

Shekarabi’s decisions have not gone uncriticised, however, with the recent lowering of deposit limits denounced by the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS). 

Gustaf Hoffstedt, BOS Secretary General, argue that it diminished the duty of care operator’s have towards their customers due to players opening new gambling accounts in order to bypass stricter affordability limits. 

The reintroduction of the temporary measures ends a three month period of easing, as the Swedish government, people and economy began to move out of national pandemic lockdowns. 

This saw the temporary gambling measures lifted on 14 November 2021, although Shekarabi tasked the inspectorate with an evaluation of the online gambling safeguards as a condition of the relaxation of restrictions.

The assignment will be carried out in consultation with the Swedish Public Health Agency, The Swedish Consumer Agency and the Swedish Enforcement Agency (public debt and liabilities agency).

Spelinspektionen maintains that its evaluation is continuing, with an ultimate deadline of 15 March 2022. However, the Inspectorate again asserted that it is ‘too early’ for any definitive conclusions to be published at this time.

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