Spelinspektionen hits out again at casino stake limits

9 June 2020

Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has maintained its criticism of the country’s upcoming casino stake limits, arguing amendments to the rules may make them even more difficult to implement in time.

A SEK5,000 (£401/€459/$495) mandatory weekly cap on stakes across all verticals, alongside a SEK100 bonus cap, were initially proposed by Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi in April, and were due to come into effect from 1 June. The government later amended these rules so that they would only apply to online casino products and would come into effect from 2 July.

However, the regulator said these restrictions may still be too difficult to implement, even by the later deadline of 2 July deadline.

“The Gaming Inspectorate has no detailed knowledge of the extent of the changes involved, but it cannot be ruled out that these are changes that are both time-consuming and that can, to some extent, require re-certification of the systems,” it said. “Therefore, there is a risk that there are licensees who cannot meet the new requirements within the proposed time.”

It added that making the restrictions apply specifically to casino games, rather than across all verticals, was likely to make them more difficult to implement.

“Different limits for different games can in themselves pose a difficulty for the gaming companies in cases where the operator has a license to provide both commercial online betting and gamng,” it continued.

In addition, Spelinspektionen said it “maintains its position” set out in its response to the consultation on the earlier version of the restrictions. In that response, it said the rules would only have a “marginal” effect on player protection, while they may benefit the unlicenced market to a greater degree.

The rules have been widely criticised by stakeholders. Online gambling operator association Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) said the measures were likely to lead to more players moving to the unlicensed market. It launched a petition against the restrictions, signed by chief executives of many operators including Betsson, Kindred Group, LeoVegas, NetEnt and William Hill.

BOS added that the changes to the rules, making them apply only to online casino, appeared intended to protect businesses in which the government held a stake, such as former horse racing monopoly ATG, rather than players.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) also criticised the measures as “not evidence-led” and warned they may do more harm than good for Swedish player protection.

Earlier this week, chief executives from nine major Sweden-facing gambling operators suggested a series of new player protection measures that they said would be more effective than the stake limit.