For years, Sweden closed its doors to foreign gambling companies. In early 2019, lawmakers here finally allowed gambling companies to operate in the country, albeit with heavy restrictions. Now, some companies are claiming that gambling regulations in Sweden are becoming too strict.
Several online gambling companies have already complained about the country’s regulatory approach to the gaming industry. Now is the perfect time to look at some of the recent regulations passed here. We’ll also talk about how these increased regulations could affect Sweden’s gambling market in the future.
As we just mentioned, Sweden opened its online gambling industry in January of this year. In order to operate in this country, gambling operators must obtain a license from the government. Today, several of the top gambling sites in Europe now offer their services here. Unfortunately, these companies are dealing with some of the strictest gambling regulations in Europe.
The first wave of regulations came in February. That month, Sweden’s Gambling Authority, called Spelinspektionen, announced new laws on gambling advertisements. The government body stated that online gambling operators could no longer market towards individuals who had voluntarily blocked themselves from the gambling industry.
Swedish lawmakers also announced new restrictions on gambling bonuses. Companies here can only offer one promotion to their members. These gambling regulations in Sweden are a tough blow for companies who often rely on bonus promotions to attract new players and retain their user base.
In June, Spelinspektionen once again ramped up gambling regulations in Sweden. This group announced that fines were increasing for any companies caught breaking the law. Spelinspektionen is now teaming up with the Malta Gaming Authority to ensure these companies are following the rules set in place.
Not everyone is happy to see these regulations ramp up. Many online gambling operators here have complained that the tight regulations are resulting in monetary losses. Spelinspekionen has responded, claiming these companies are simply “unaccustomed” to the regulatory framework set in place.
The Swedish Gambling Authority has been the subject of controversy for years. It’s fined several companies over the past few months and has even threatened to revoke a few companies’ gaming licenses. Interestingly, lawmakers here are showing no signs of letting up.
In an official statement, Spelinspektionen claimed that these companies simply need to learn how things work in Sweden. While the language barrier may be contributing to the issue, the group argues, many companies simply fail to understand what is legal and what is not here.
“Spelinspektionen notes that in many cases the gaming companies cite ambiguities in the new regulations as grounds for violations,” the group said. “In its inspections so far, [these violations] have not been the result of unclear rules. On the contrary, the infringements have been serious and clear.”
Spelinspektionen claims that 41 regulatory offenses have been recorded this year. 28 of these cases have been concluded, while 13 remain ongoing. Official fines were only issued on 19 of these occasions.
Many companies believe it’s time for Sweden to loosen its current set of gambling regulations. With limited options to advertise and offer bonuses, these companies are struggling to compete with the government-run gambling company, Svenska Spel.
There’s certainly an argument to be made that regulations should decrease here. Some of the top gambling operators here including Betsson and even the aforementioned Svenska Spel are struggling to increase their revenue earnings.
Betsson recently released a report that shows the company’s revenue fell by 5% during the year’s second quarter. Betsson’s overall net revenue fell by 37% compared to the same time period last year. The company claims that increased regulations are to blame.
Unfortunately, lawmakers in Sweden are now considering a full ban on all gambling advertisements. Marketing makes up the majority of most gambling companies’ overall budget. A blanket ban on advertising would be devastating for these operators.
There’s a lot going on here. Sweden wants to avoid high rates of gambling addiction, while gambling companies want a fair shot at offering their services. Hopefully, the two parties can reach an agreement on these issues.
Do you think gambling regulations in Sweden should decrease? Let us know in the comments section below!
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