BOS – Spelinspektionen needs to rethink its black market playbook

Gustaf Hoffstedt – BOS

Swedish igaming trade association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) thinks that the ‘channelisation strategy’ by regulator Spelinspektionen is failing to curb black-market demand.

‘Channelisation’ refers to the government’s directive of ensuring that  Swedish consumers only wager with Spelinspektionen approved licensed operators rather than unlicensed operators.

This week, Spelinspektionen published figures which estimated that licensed wagering activities related to online casino, sports and racing were tracking at 85-87% – with the remaining share maintained by black/grey market operators.

BOS underlines that Spelinspektionen figures fall short of the Swedish government’s re-regulated target of 90% of wagering taking place on licensed incumbents’ platforms.

This summer, BOS issued a warning to Spelinspektionen detailing industry leadership concerns on channelization demands, with BOS members stating that new regulatory enforcements had been tougher on licensed incumbents than on unlicensed actors.

“No one that has been paying attention to the political outburst and the astronomical fines on licensed gambling companies can be surprised over this development,” said Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary-General of BOS. “My assessment is that the reduction is part of a trend. Unless the Government takes forceful action to protect its own reregulation the channelization is likely to decrease further.”

Of further concern, BOS notes that black market figures will likely be higher than communicated as Spelinspektionen has included ‘horse trotting’ wagering in its research – a vertical operated solely by state-owned racing operator ATG.

Hoffstedt and BOS members advise Spelinspektionen to rethink its regulatory approach on further marketing restrictions and the constraint of certain sports wagering bet-types which will only strengthen black-market actors position.

“Such restrictions would virtually mean giving away the Swedish gambling market to unlicensed operators,” Hoffstedt added. “The Government is currently acting as the best friend of the black and grey market and this needs to end.”

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