BOS Opposes Stricter Online Casino Cap Plan in Sweden

Just under two months after lifting its previous cap on online casino game deposit limits, the Swedish government is drawing another tougher limit, and BOS is not happy. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Back to COVID-19 caps?

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Games, known locally as Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), has warned the government against reinstating a deposit limit on online casino games.

limit players’ weekly deposits to the online casino to 4,000 SEK ($440.49)

Sweden’s Ministry of Finance launched a consultation on Tuesday proposing a new measure to limit players’ weekly deposits in online casinos to 4,000 SEK ($440.49), which is 1,000 SEK ($110.39) less than the previous limit lifted in November.

BOS blasted the proposal, sharing the position of its general secretary Gustaf Hoffstedt via Twitter:

Hoffstedt believes that players wishing to bet beyond the proposed limit will simply create accounts with multiple operators. In contrast, the Swedish government justified the consultation by saying it aims to protect vulnerable players in the face of a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The proposed start date for the new limit is February 7, with the so-called temporary measure in place until June 30.

Sing from an old hymn sheet

The Swedish government has also used its player protection argument to justify the previous online casino deposit cap of 5,000 SEK ($548.76) applied between July 2, 2020 and November 14, 2021.

A perennial thorn in the side of the BOS, Social Insurance Minister Ardalan Shekarabi, took to Twitter to tout the proposal for “stricter rules […] during the pandemic, due to the current situation”:

BOS derided Shekarabi’s desire to “strengthen consumer protection, in particular to protect the most vulnerable consumers”, as having something of the opposite effect.

Hoffstedt said that since the introduction of deposit limits, BOS has seen a “great increase” in the ratio of multiple gaming accounts per individual player. As a result, he claims that gaming companies cannot capture risky behavior from players. Ergo, according to Hoffstedt’s statement, “the legal duty of care, which is intended for the gaming company to gain an overall picture of gambling behavior and provide support to risky gamblers, is lost.”

rethinking and preserving consumer protection”

The BOS statement released on Tuesday concluded by urging the government to “rethink and protect consumer protection in the Swedish gaming market”.

Dubious claims

BOS has previously condemned Shekarabi’s beliefs. In June 2021, the e-commerce body said the minister’s claim that online gambling had increased during the pandemic was “baseless”.

The Swedish government lifted its controversial deposit limits on November 14. In October, however, the government gave the country’s gambling regulator, Der Spelinspektionen (SGA), a deadline of March 15, 2022 to report on the effectiveness of the temporary deposit limits. The regulator then has until October 31, 2023 to submit a report suggesting further potential measures.

Even the SGA has previously suggested that imposing restrictions would have only a negligible effect on reducing problem gambling. Despite repeated fire from many gambling operators and stakeholders, Shekarabi will likely get his wish again, which Hoffstedt says will remove “a cornerstone of Swedish consumer protection in gambling law”.

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