The European Betting and Gaming Association (EGBA) has suggested that the Swedish government heeds advice from the country’s gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, to not impose mandatory deposit limits over concerns regarding channelisation.
The limits, which have been proposed by the country’s health minister Ardalan Shekarabi, have suggested a number of restrictions on online gambling, including an enforced deposit limit of 5000 SEK (€471) per week for online gamblers.
Spelinspektionen has cautioned against the measures, stating that it will have a ‘marginal effect’ but also emphasising that players will have less consumer protection measures if they were to gamble via unlicensed operators.
Backing the Swedish regulator, the EGBA has added that ‘the proposed deposit limit could have unintended and detrimental effects – and harm more customers than they protect’ and ‘will do more to hit gambling and tax revenues’.
The trade body also reiterated that any positive effects of a deposit limit would be negated by the negative effects on channelisation.
Maarten Haijer, Secretary General of the EGBA, explained: “We understand that politicians seek to reassure and protect their citizens during these difficult times, but the proposed gambling restrictions could actually 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 behavior, 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.”
The EGBA underlined that, according to available data, there has been no increase in online gambling in European countries since countries went into lockdown. It suggested that ‘targeted measures, including tailored interventions’ were used to protect those at risk of problem gambling.