Swedish iGaming Operators: Government Favors Special Interests
A proposal to limits gambling deposits in Sweden excluded horseracing and sports betting but not online gaming. Trade association leader Gustaf Hoffstedt says the move is more about protecting special interests than safeguarding consumers.
In May, Swedish Minister of Health Ardalan Shekarabi submitted proposals to the government for a weekly gambling deposit limit of 5000 SEK (US$526.50) as well as a €100 limit (US$110.80) on welcome bonuses.
The directive drew sharp criticism from gaming industry officials, especially in light of newer proposals that would exclude horseracing and sports betting from the deposit limit.
“The new suggestion is impossible to understand from a consumer protection perspective,” said Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of Branschföreningen för Onlinespel, the Swedish trade association for online gaming.
“We have received data from the Swedish Gambling Authority and the Swedish Tax Authority showing that online casino sales have not increased during Covid-19, whereas horse betting has exploded. Against all rationality the government now wants to exclude horse betting from further regulation whereas online casinos shall receive further restrictions.”
Hoffstedt insinuated that the government actions have nothing to do with consumer protection, but are designed to provide benefits to connected gambling companies, according to SBC News.
He cited state-run gambling firm ATG, where a majority of board members are appointed by the government. “The government is aware of the alarming low channelization for online casinos, and it just doesn’t seem to care. It’s a huge loss for consumer protection in Sweden.”