Kambi, Air Dice, Sweden

Sweden’s 180-degree turn on credit gambling ban draws industry criticism

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) has taken a stance against the Ministry of Finance mandate for a comprehensive ban on gambling with credit. 

According to the proposal memorandum, the ban will boost Sweden’s efforts to prevent cases of indebtedness caused by credit gambling. 

By law, licensed gambling operators carry a “duty of care” which mandates that they must discourage excessive gambling. 

The proposal additionally puts the Swedish Gambling Authority Lotteriinspektionen in charge of constructing requirements for these preventative measures. 

Deadlines for the implementation of the credit ban and introduction of Lotteriinspektionen’s enhanced authority are 1 September 2024 and 1 April 2025, respectively. 

BOS, however, has noted that putting a lid on gambling with credit goes against the government’s own inquiry into indebtedness  from 2023, where it was noted that “there are not sufficient reasons to introduce a ban on paying for gambling with credit cards”. 

In its content, the document looks at both the Norwegian and UK markets as case studies where bans have been placed on paying bets when using a credit card.

However, also taken into account are recent developments in credit product technology that could pose various technical difficulties when trying to copy examples from other international markets – for example the ability to also link credit to debit cards. 

“The view from both banks and card issuers is that it would mean great difficulties to prohibit payment with a payment card when a credit is linked to such a card,” the paper noted.

Gustaf Hoffstedt, Swedish politician and Secretary General of BOS, reflected on the government’s 180-degree turn by saying: “It is sad that the government does not listen to its own expertise and instead proposes a ban on credit cards when gambling, contrary to what the government investigation has concluded. 

“Interestingly, the government does not propose a corresponding credit card ban on the purchase of alcoholic beverages, which as is known is only offered by a retail monopoly owned and operated by the government itself.

“The unlicensed gambling companies will continue to offer games with credit cards. The government is handing yet another competitive advantage to the unlicensed gaming market, which has a 41 percent market share when it comes to online casinos. This is where the big threat to consumer protection lies. 

“The risk is great that unlicensed gambling will overtake and gain a larger total market share than licensed gambling in 2024. The government needs to change its footing and show that it is on the side of the licensed gambling companies and consumer protection.”

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