Tightened Swedish regulations could cause more harm than good, says EGBA

Instead of supporting gamblers during the COVID-19 lockdown, enhanced online gaming restrictions in Sweden ‘could do more harm to consumer protection’ according to the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA).

Yesterday, Sweden’s Minister for Health and Social Affairs Ardalan Shekarabi  proposed that weekly deposits were limited to SEK5,000, with a SEK100 cap on bonus offers in a bid to protect customers during the ongoing pandemic.

Maarten Haijer, Secretary General, European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), highlighted that the lack of targeting with the new restrictions ‘could actually harm more customers than they protect’.

He said: “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.”

EGBA highlighted that the tightened restrictions could encourage players to consider unregulated websites, which ‘do not apply any other of Sweden’s consumer protection measures, including the country’s Spelpaus self-exclusion scheme’.

The trade body added: “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.”

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