The Swedish government has outlined new proposals to extend the current restrictions on the gaming industry until the end of June 2021, citing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The memorandum, which has been submitted for consultation until 23 November 2020, includes an extension to a series of ‘temporary measures’ introduced earlier this year such as a SEK 5,000 deposit limit for games at online casinos.
“We see that the development of covid-19 is going in the wrong direction in several parts of the country. The situation is very serious. In the wake of the pandemic, we see continued risks in the area of gambling, which means that we need to act to reduce the risks for vulnerable consumers,” said Minister of Social Insurance Ardalan Shekarabi.
In addition, proposals have suggested a mandatory limit on playing time for those wagering at online casinos and ATMs, while bonuses offered by licensees who provide online casinos and ATMs will be limited to SEK 100.
The current measures, which came into force on 2 July, faced significant backlash from the gaming industry after stakeholders raised the alarm over the risk to channelisation rates.
At the time, the Swedish regulator cautioned against the measures, stating that the SEK 5,000 deposit limit will have a ‘marginal effect’ on reducing the number of players gambling during the pandemic. It also emphasised that players will have less consumer protection measures if they were to gamble via unlicensed operators.
Backing the Swedish regulator, the European Gaming and Betting Association added that ‘the proposed deposit limit could have unintended and detrimental effects – and harm more customers than they protect’ and ‘will do more to hit gambling and tax revenues’.