Criticism of Swedish regulation: How does the UK compare

As part of their measures to help protect their citizens during the current lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Swedish Government has brought in a law, capping the amount online gamblers can spend in a week. This limit is 5000 Swedish Krona, which is equivalent to about £425.

In response to this, the Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, have warned that this limit will have a minimal effect on most gamblers in the country as they will just be pushed into spending money on unlicensed websites.

EGA response to Swedish regulation

The European Gaming and Betting Association believes that safer gambling is of paramount importance at this time, more than ever due to the lockdowns that are happening across Europe. In a written submission to the Swedish Government, the EGBA said that they believe the deposit limit might do more harm than good.

They believe that any positives to this new law will be made ineffective by the adverse effects on channelization. According to a recent study, 40% of Sweden’s online casino players, and 34% of sports betting customers, already use unlicensed websites or would consider using them. The new limit could drive the high spenders towards such sites which undermine their protection.

“We understand that politicians seek to reassure and protect their citizens during these difficult times, but the proposed gambling restrictions could harm more customers than they protect. Many Swedes are already gambling on unlicensed websites, and these restrictions will make unlicensed websites – which don’t apply any limits – even more attractive to them. We must remember gambling is human behaviour, consumers will always make their own choices, and top-down regulation rarely works. In this case, it could have detrimental or counterproductive effects by pushing more gambling onto unregulated websites,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of EGBA, said.

UK comparison

When we compare this to what our Government in the UK is doing, we could be heading down a similar pathway. MP’s are already calling on companies to impose daily betting caps to help combat problem gambling.

When we look at what has happened in Sweden, the UK Government needs to err on the side of caution to avoid unlicensed sites taking away the British publics’ life savings.

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