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Sweden Plans to Extend Covid-19 iGaming Deposit Cap until November 2021

The gambling industry in Sweden will continue facing tough restrictions in the upcoming months. The Government has introduced the plan to extend the restrictions, including the deposit cap, that were put in place back in July 2020.   

The original idea was for these restrictions to end once 2021 begins but instead, they have been extended on several occasions. The last decision was to keep them in place until June 2021. However, due to high Covid-19 rates in this Scandinavian country, the government believes the restrictions should continue until 14 November 2021

Ardalan Shekarabi, Swedish Minister of Social Insurance, said:

We see that the spread of Covid-19 is still high in Sweden, the current situation entails great risks for consumers in the gaming market. We, therefore, need to act to reduce the risks for the most vulnerable consumers.”  

This Government memorandum limits deposits to SEK5,000 ($580), bonuses can’t go over SEK100, and it’s mandatory for players to set limits on playing time. The regulation is designed with choosing Swedish online casinos and licensed gaming machines. 

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However, Swedish online industry association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS) strongly opposes the proposed measures. The BOS chairman Gustaf Hoffstedt stated that this extension will just propel more players to go to unlicensed operators.

The government seems unaware that their own expert authority, the Swedish Agency for Public Management, just over a week ago stated that the leakage from the Swedish gaming market to the unregulated gaming market is alarmingly high,” Hoffstedt said.

The leakage for online casinos is particularly high, where as much as every fourth gaming krona is played outside the Swedish licensed market. To extend restrictions that are disapproved by gaming consumers is to ask for continued problems for the channeling into the licensed market when it comes to online casinos.

Hoffstedt also said that this flow towards unregulated gaming operators is putting players at a greater safety risk. He added: 

It is provocative that the Swedish government in a rhetoric about caring for the consumer but in practice does the opposite and hurts the Swedish gaming license market with its strong consumer protection.

The proposed memorandum will remain open for consultation until 3 May.