Spelinspektionen: ‘Clear link’ between borrowing money and problem gambling

Spelinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Inspectorate, has updated incumbents in the country’s betting and gaming market concerning credit card usage. 

The Inspectorate explained that gambling companies – with the exception of lotteries – are prohibited from offering credit cards as a payment method in Sweden, but added that some licensees ‘inform about and sometimes also link to companies that only offer credits as a payment alternative’.

Under the terms of the Swedish regulatory framework, operators must ensure that social and health considerations are adhered to, with the aim of protecting the lives, finances and relatives of players – including preventing credit card payments.

As a caveat of this duty of care, Swedish operators are prohibited from using procedures which can contribute to gambling on credit, such as leveraging invoices as a payment method and offering payment alternatives when deposits are made via mobile and the cost is added to the mobile subscription invoice. 

“Gambling on credit can be linked to excessive gambling and can have major negative consequences for individuals,” a statement from the Inspectorate read. 

“The Swedish Gaming Inspectorate therefore considers that it is not compatible with the duty of care that licensees contribute or encourage players to borrow money to maintain their gambling. Licensees may therefore not inform or link to companies that only offer payment options in the form of credits, on websites where games about money are provided. 

“It is also not compatible with the duty of care to enable invoices as payment alternatives or to offer payment alternatives where deposits are made via mobile and the cost is added to the mobile subscription invoice, as these procedures contribute to gambling on credit.”

In its assessment of the issue, Spelinspektionen detailed that there is a ‘clear link between gambling for borrowed money and excessive gambling’, a behaviour which it identifies as a sign of problem gambling.

Citing a 2019 survey of budget and debt advisors, the Inspectorate found that 90% of respondents stated that between 10% and 30% of individuals seeking help for indebtedness had incurred debts as a result of gambling.

The Inspectorate’s update follows its reminder to gambling operators to closely follow and maintain its rules with regards to their in-play market offerings, notably warning state-run AB Trav Galopp (ATG) and Coolbet.com’s Polar Limited operating brand for breaching Gaming Act provisions on sportsbook markets.

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