BOS backs Larsson inquiry but maintains warning on channelisation declines
Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) – Sweden’s Online Gambling Association – has stated its support for proposals to combat match-fixing and unlicensed gambling.
The trade association has backed draft measures put forward by Gunnar Larsson, Director General of Sweden’s Chamber of Commerce, but warned lawmakers that “new measures will not be enough to achieve Sweden’s channelisation goals”.
In 2020, Larsson was charged with undertaking an inquiry to safeguard Sweden’s regulated online gambling marketplace against black-market actors – following concerns by gambling inspectorate Spelinspektionen that it lacked the regulatory capacity to combat threats.
Returning his inquiry, Larsson recommended that the government ‘change the regulatory scope of Spelinspektionen’ to monitor and discipline all gambling available to Swedish consumers, be it licensed or unlicensed.
Larsson upheld Spelinspektionen’s own observation that although it could launch investigations against unlicensed actors/activities, the governing body held a limited enforcement policy to penalise unlicensed companies targeting Swedish consumers.
The inquiry recommended that Spelinspektionen change its regulatory scope monitoring Swedish gambling, in which the inspectorate would focus on whether unlicensed operators had prevented all engagements with Swedish players – mirroring the market requirements applied by Dutch regulator Kansspelautoriteit ahead of the launch of the KOA Regime.
The subject of Spelinspektionen regulatory approach will be a key criterion of the Swedish government’s planned ‘stage-2’ reforms of the Swedish Gambling Act – that was formerly relaunched in 2019 regulating the nation’s online gambling marketplace.
BOS responded that it would support Larsson’s recommendations, as an improvement on the current status quo. Yet, the trade body maintains its current stance, that Swedish gambling has adopted too many regressive measures to hit its 90% channelisation target.
The warning comes as Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi, recommended that the government re-introduce its online casino deposit cap at a lower rate of SEK 4,000 (€390) – a COVID-19 safer gambling requirement observed by licensed incumbents during the past two years.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, Secretary-General for the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, stated: ““We are concerned about the one-sidedness of the inquiry, in the sense that all proposals are repressive and thus cover the back of the gaming market, such as fixed matches and unlicensed gaming.”
“Sweden will never be able to bring back the market shares that have been lost to the illegal gaming market unless something is also done about the conditions for the law-abiding licensed gambling companies.
“These companies must be given better opportunities to attract gambling customers to the legal gambling market, and therefore, for example, deposit limits and marketing restrictions proposed by the government must be rejected.”