EGBA concerned Swedish restrictions could harm players, not protect them
Sweden’s new temporary restrictions on online gambling could do more harm to consumer protection than actually provide help to those who might need it, according to the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). The restrictions, announced today by the government, include temporary weekly loss and deposit limits of €458 for customers and are part of a series of measures billed at protecting customers during the coronavirus.
EGBA strongly supports measures to protect customers, even more so during these difficult times. That is why EGBA and the Swedish online gambling association (BOS), together with other major European online gambling associations, recently issued guidance on how online gambling companies should promote safer gambling and responsible advertising during the coronavirus.
While the new measures introduced by the Swedish government are aimed to improve consumer protection, EGBA is concerned that they will harm more customers than they protect. The type and nature of the restrictions means that they are not targeted, but could rather encourage customers to play with unregulated gambling websites* which are easily available online. These websites will not apply the announced restrictions and do not apply any other of Sweden’s consumer protection measures, including the country’s Spelpaus self-exclusion scheme.
Given that the measures will take effect on June 1 and expire at the end of 2020, we also question the effectiveness of the measures in protecting customers during the coronavirus.
“In Sweden, gambling advertising spending is down and we haven’t seen evidence that average customer spend is up. Even so, there is no compelling evidence that arbitrary restrictions on customer spend have a positive effect on safer gambling. The measures could actually harm more customers than they protect because customers can easily find black market websites where the restrictions, and any other social protections, do not apply” – Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).
* Recent research suggested that up to 30% of Swedish players were already searching for unlicensed/black market casinos before the Swedish government’s announcement of these new restrictions.