The main trade body of Sweden’s gambling industry, Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) has written an open letter to the country’s Social Security Minister, Ardalan Shekarabi, protesting about new restrictions that apply to online casinos.
The correspondence outlines their concerns about new temporary restrictions, which were revealed last week. These include deposit limits for players and a tightening of the rules for operators around the offering of online bonuses.
The letter is signed by several high profile figures, including the CEO of Kindred Group, Henrik Tjärnström, the Betsson CEO, Pontus Lindwall and NetEnt’s Therese Hillman. The letter has also received support from Ulrik Bengtsson of William Hill and Gustaf Hagman from LeoVegas.
One of their main criticisms is over the lack of consultation before the changes were announced. The signatories to the letter have also emphasised that they are working hard with the Swedish authorities to address the problem of unregulated gambling in the country.
The letter expressed disappointment that the government did not want to talk to industry stakeholders about the best way to work together. The BOS also expressed scepticism about the possibility of problem gambling rising during the ongoing pandemic. In fact, they suggest that the evidence indicates that online gambling activity has dropped in recent weeks.
The BOS also singled out the minister personally for criticism, suggesting that the latest plans would lead to an increase in the use of the illegal market:
“For us, it is clear that Ardalan Shekarabi does not share our ambition to create a sustainable and safe gaming market as the latest proposal is the best advertisement for players to leave the licensed companies.”
The new rules which form a key part of the government’s attempts to tighten up the online casino sector, will take effect from June 1. They include a new lower weekly deposit limit for players, and a limit on online bonuses. The rules also stipulate a mandatory limit on how long individual players can play at any online casino. According to the government, the rules, which are designed to help protect the public during the pandemic, will remain in place until at least the end of 2020.