Sweden’s KO rules Svenska Spel TV spot is advertising

27 May 2020

Sweden’s consumer ombudsman has ruled that Trisskrapet, a regular TV spot broadcast on free-to-air channel TV4 in which guests play Svenska Spel scratchcards, is a form of advertising, and must therefore include responsible gaming information.

Following a complaint from operator association Branscheförenigen för Onlienspel (BOS) in June 2019, the Konsumentombudsmanen (KO) concluded that the segment, which airs on the Nyhetsmorgon show, should be flagged advert for the former monopoly.

The KO has also ordered the operator to provide information of the contract with TV4 that facilitates the show.

BOS first raised concerns about the segments in May last year, noting that while these segments are designed to drive participation in the games, they do not contain any responsible gaming information required by law. It argued at the time they should include elements such as the 18+ age limit or information about the national problem gambling helpline.

The association’s secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt said he welcomed the KO’s decision, describing the lack of consumer protection information in the Trisskrapet segments as “the elephant in the room” when it comes to games and consumer protection.

“The regulatory framework for consumer protection for real-money games exists for a good reason, and the rules must be followed,” he explained. “There is no exception for government-owned gaming companies.

Svenska Spel has appealed the decision, however, which Hoffstedt said he could not understand.

“Why does Svenska Spel not act transparently and comply with KO's decision? It is extremely strange that the state-owned gaming company opposes the directives that come from the state authority that exists to promote safe and secure gambling,” he said.

In related news, the KO last week said there had been a positive development in terms of advertising content in the country, with operators more compliant with regulations set out in the Swedish Gaming Act.

Having examined gambling ads across a number of channels, including TV, podcasts, magazines, the internet and social media, it said the volume was unchanged from 2019 - when concerns about excessive advertising were raised. Marketing of jackpots and bonus offers had also remained consistent year-over-year, it added.

The promotion of bonus offers was an area in which improvements had been made, but where there were still many shortcomings, it warned however.

“The Consumer Agency believes that in many cases clearer, clearer and more easily accessible information on the terms and conditions of the offer should be provided,” it said. “This applies both to initial banner ads and to the gaming companies' websites.”