Kindred Group issues response to Swedish government’s proposed online casino restrictions

Stockholm-headquartered Kindred Group has shared its thoughts on the Swedish government’s proposed online casino restrictions, set to be enforced from 1st June. 

The operator is concerned about the potential implications of these regulations, which it believes are “an open invitation to illegal gambling sites”. 

Proposed restrictions would limit the amount players could deposit each week, along with capping online bonus offers. 

Designed to protect players from possible problem gambling that may arise during COVID-19, these would stay in place until at least the end of 2020. 

What has Kindred Group said about these possible incoming changes?

In the group’s press release, Kindred CEO Henrik Tjärnström expressed his concerns about the already-growing black market.

“We are extremely concerned that the Swedish gambling market continues to shrink, a trend confirmed by both the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret) and research firm Copenhagen Economics,” he said. 

“What the government is now proposing will result in a continued decline in the gambling market and an erosion of consumer protections.”

Tjärnström continued with the below. 

“We need to be careful about introducing regulations that move customers away from regulated gambling companies towards unlicensed sites where Swedish authorities have no ability whatsoever of ensuring a high consumer protection. 

“This is a negative development for customers, for the licensed gambling companies, and for society as a whole.”

The operator also said that contrary to popular belief, online gambling activity in Sweden has gone down since the novel coronavirus outbreak. 

According to an April 2020 report from Copenhagen Economics, the channelisation rate in Scandinavia’s largest country could now be as low as 72%.

Last November, Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen had said that it wanted to reduce the percentage of unregulated operator share in the market to 10%. At that time, the governing body believed that 13% – 15% of iGaming in Sweden was unlicensed. 

Have other suggestions been made about what the government can do instead? 

Kindred outlined a number of actions that the government could take instead of further-restricting players’ freedoms. 

These were: 

  • Quickly implement B2B licences for suppliers and customer acquisition companies;
  • Consider further-regulating the instant loans industry;
  • Carry out powerful public awareness campaigns;
  • Clarify the gambling authority’s mission, by requesting data from gambling companies to facilitate fact-based assessments. 

What has the Swedish government proposed in relation to online casino regulation?

Last month, the country’s Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi said that – if the proposals officially come into place – players will be allowed to deposit a maximum of 5,000 Swedish Kronor (just under £413) each week. 

On top of this, online bonus offers are to be capped at SEK 100 – which is just over £8. Meanwhile, players will have to set mandatory limits on their playing time. 

Sweden is one of the few Western European countries that did not impose a full-scale lockdown to tame the spread of COVID-19. At 10:30am GMT on 12th May, 26,670 cases had been reported with 3,256 deaths.

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