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As part of the measures to protect citizens during the coronavirus lockdowns, the Swedish government has enforced a deposit limit of 5000 SEK (€471) per week for online gamblers. In response, the country’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has warned that the deposit limit will have a marginal effect on most Swedish gamblers and could drive high-spending customers towards unlicensed websites.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) believes safer gambling is important now more than ever, during the coronavirus-related lockdowns across Europe. However, as outlined in a recent written submission to the Swedish government, EGBA believes the proposed deposit limit could have unintended and detrimental effects, and harm more customers than they protect.
EGBA believes that any positive effects of the deposit limit will be negated by negative effects on channelisation. According to a recent study, 40% of Sweden’s online casino customers, and 34% of sports betting customers, already gamble on unlicensed websites or would consider doing so. The deposit limit could, as Spelinspektionen rightly warn, drive high-spending players towards unlicensed websites which undermine their consumer protection.
“We understand that politicians seek to reassure and protect their citizens during these difficult times, but the proposed gambling restrictions could actually harm more customers than they protect. Many Swedes are already gambling on unlicensed websites and these restrictions will make unlicensed websites – which don’t apply any limits – even more attractive to them. We must remember gambling is human behavior, consumers will always make their own choices and top-down regulation rarely works. In this case, it could have detrimental or counterproductive effects by pushing more gambling onto unregulated websites,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of EGBA, said.