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