The Swedish Government has published the recommendations of the ‘Gambling Market Inquiry’ (‘Spelmarknadsutredningen’) related to further regulatory requirements governing Sweden’s re-regulated marketplace.
The inquiry had been originally commissioned by former civil affairs minister Ardalan Shekarabi in the summer of 2018, as a requisite to Sweden launching its online gambling marketplace at the start of 2019, after which an independent inspectorate would review year-one proceedings.
The government appointed Social Democrat MP Anna-Lena Sörenson to lead the independent inquiry, which would provide a critical oversight with regards to ‘stage two of the government’s regulatory approach on gambling’.
In her remit, Sörenson was asked to review whether the Swedish government required a tighter set of centralised controls monitoring online gambling activities and market incumbents.
The MP carried out a review of duties required by licensed online gambling incumbents, reviewing whether to impose new levies for Swedish horseracing and sports development programmes – whose recommendations were published in October.
Furthermore, following consumer agency complaints of ‘aggressive advertising overexposure’ across Swedish broadcast networks, Sörenson was tasked with undertaking a review of gambling advertising standards and practices.
“This has been a complex assignment that has touched on a large number of different issues linked to the gaming regulation, which in some cases have required difficult trade-offs,” read Sörenson’s statement to Sweden’s government.
“I believe that the proposals we come up with today can both contribute to strengthening consumer protection and make regulation more appropriate.”
Sörenson’s inquiry advised the government to focus its future legislation on maintaining tighter regulatory conditions as a means to ‘exclude unlicensed operators’ from gaining any access to the Swedish market.
The inquiry has proposed that the government introduce a new licensing regime for software suppliers servicing the market, in which the government must impose a ‘classification of games’ and safety requirements.
All licensed suppliers and developers will be required to document their game specifications providing Swedish inspectorate Spelinspektionen with a detailed ‘scope of the game’ blueprints – allowing the regulator to follow the market’s technical developments.
With regards to advertising practices, the inquiry called for the government to impose a ban on advertising of casino games from 06.00 and 21.00.
Furthermore, the government was urged to bolster its restrictions on unlicensed operators utilising international advertising networks to target Swedish consumers – demanding tougher broadcast controls and penalties.
The inquiry proposes that Sweden maintain its temporary SEK 5,000 (€500) weekly casino deposit limit, stating Spelinspektionen required more time to make an appropriate assessment on whether to raise or lower player limits.
“The Gambling Market Inquiry’s report will form an important basis for the Government’s forthcoming measures,” said Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi, who welcomed the inquiry’s recommendations.
“The state has a great responsibility to protect Swedish consumers in the gaming market. It is both about shutting out gaming companies that do not have a license and ensuring that those who operate here with a license do so in a responsible manner.”