SBC News Spelinspektionen calls for reconsideration of credit card ban despite ‘signal value’

Spelinspektionen calls for reconsideration of credit card ban despite ‘signal value’

Sweden’s Gambling Inspectorate, the Spelinspektionen, has responded to a consultation initiated by the country’s government examining how gambling induced debt can be countered, offering its view on a credit card ban.

In a proposal published today, the regulator’s Director General, Camilla Rosenberg, stated that ‘there may be reason to reconsider’ whether a ban on credit card use for gambling payments should be introduced.

In short, the authority believes that there are ‘practical difficulties’ as to why credit card payments should not yet be banned in Sweden. However, the Inspectorate does seem to believe that a ban should be considered as a more long-term goal.

“However, the authority doubts the investigation’s conclusion that the reasons against introducing such a ban are stronger than the reasons for a ban,” Rosenberg’s statement explained.

The statement later continued: “The authority does not consider that the investigation has sufficiently taken into account the signal value a credit card ban could have when it comes to clarifying the perception that gambling for borrowed money is an undesirable phenomenon in society.”

The Inspectorate’s view that a credit card ban should not be introduced at this time remains unchanged, however, with the authority recommending that the government first observe how such bans have played out in the UK and Norway.

Looking at the UK, the country introduced its ban on credit card payments for gambling in April 2020, and there have been little to no visible calls for the measure to be reversed. 

Around a year and a half after the ban was implemented, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) reported that consumers were generally happy with the decision, stating that it helps people gamble within their means and observing that there had been no spike in ATM withdrawals.

Although calling for the government to reconsider the imposition of a credit card payments ban In its response to the government’s consultation on debt reduction, the Spelinspektionen has outlined additional measures which it believes could be effective.

Of note, Rosenberg highlighted the government’s proposal of an ‘efficient and sound credit check’ as potentially playing an important role in countering debt, and is ‘positive’ about the potential introduction of such a system.

Rosenberg’s statement concluded: “The Swedish Gaming Authority has no objections to the proposed design of the system, but wants to emphasise the importance of careful considerations during the further preparation, i.a. with regard to the question of what detailed requirements must be placed on a credit information company in order for it to be allowed to keep a Skri register.”

With the exception of credit card payments and a credit check system, the Inspectorate stated that ‘otherwise, based on the interests the authority has to protect, the Gaming Authority has no views on the proposals in the report’.

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