The Swedish government is seeking to extend the validity period of temporary restrictions imposed on locally licensed gambling operators earlier this year as part of the country’s efforts to reduce gambling-related damage during the Covid pandemic. -19.
On Tuesday, the Swedish Minister of Social Security, Ardalan Shekarabi, defined a proposal to extend the temporary measures until June 2021.
Currently, these measures will expire at the end of the year. However, Sweden joined many European countries last week and introduced new Covid-19 restrictions as the entire continent struggles to contain a significant new wave of new cases.
And as people are urged to stay home and avoid large social gatherings, the government is now pushing for impose restrictions on locally licensed gambling activities or, rather, extend the restrictions already in force.
The proposed measures
Minister Shekarabi said on Tuesday that the deposit limit previously implemented for online casino games should stay at 5,000 SEK until June 2021. The corresponding loss limit should also remain the same, the Minister of Social Security also noted.
Additionally, players will also need to set a limit on their playing time when playing at online casinos.
The bonuses offered by Swedish licensed online gambling operators must not exceed 100 SEK, under the temporary restrictions that were introduced earlier this year and the government is now seeking to extend the validity.
The government has initiated a consultation on the proposed extension of the measures and responses to the consultation must be submitted to the Swedish Ministry of Finance by November 23, 2020.
The temporary measures were introduced by Minister Shekarabi last April and came into effect on July 2, despite protests from the online gaming industry.
The gambling operators argued that the government’s own data could not justify the participation, bonus and playtime restrictions, citing a report from the Swedish Gaming Authority that actually showed a decline in overall online gambling activity since the pandemic hit.
A very serious situation
Minister Shekarabi said on Tuesday that they see that “the development of Covid-19 is going in the wrong direction” in various parts of Sweden and that the situation is very serious. He went on to say that in the aftermath of the pandemic, they see an ongoing risk in the gaming area, “which means we must act to reduce risks for vulnerable consumers. “
As mentioned above, the Social Security minister, who has also been calling for permanent restrictions on the sector for a while, seeks to extend the current temporary measures until mid-2021.
According to a recent report by the Swedish news outlet News55, the tax returns of locally licensed online gambling operators showed that they suffered drops in local sales of up to 30% between June and August.
The industry has issued repeated warnings that restrictive measures would significantly affect channeling and instead of protecting Swedish players, they would actually direct them to unlicensed operations.