Gamblers Most Likely To Circumvent Self-Exclusion With Online Casino, Swedish Study Says

August 11, 2023
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A Swedish study of gamblers who have voluntarily excluded themselves found an overwhelming amount of those who breached the facility played online casino games.

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A Swedish study of gamblers who have voluntarily excluded themselves found an overwhelming amount of those who breached the facility played online casino games.

About 49 percent of those who had opted for self-exclusion violated that system, according to the May 2022 survey of 1,505 Swedish residents who reported gambling in the past year.

In a previous survey, only 38 percent of those who self-excluded reported breaching the service, with gambling on foreign websites the most common way of doing so, the researchers said.

The most common kinds of gambling reported during self-exclusion were online casino at 82 percent, sports betting at 47 percent, and lotteries at 43 percent, according to the survey, which appeared in the August issue of Harm Reduction Journal.

In contrast, only 52 percent of those violating self-exclusion played online casino in a 2020 survey.

About 9 percent of those who gambled in the past year excluded themselves from gambling using the Spelpaus system, the researchers said.

Self-exclusion is becoming more popular, but breaching it is also becoming more common, according to the survey.

In June, Sweden’s Industry Association for Online Gambling (BOS) released a survey it commissioned from SKOP which claimed that channelisation for the online market as a whole has dropped to 77 percent due to restrictions on betting.

That compares to a government goal of channeling 90 percent of players to legal sites.

Online casino is only 72 percent channelised, while sports betting carries an 84 percent rate, according to BOS.

Spelpaus, or Gambling Pause, was launched in 2019 by Spelinspektionen, the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA), and covers both land-based and online sources.

It is not hard to find gambling websites that market themselves as not subscribing to Spelpaus, as well as affiliates who give guidance on such sites, including suggestions that those sites can be freer with bonuses and free bets.

In the SGA’s own survey of gamblers and non-gamblers, about 6 percent reported intentionally playing on a site without a Swedish licence, while 4 percent said they played unintentionally on such a site.

About 11 percent have used Spelpaus, the SGA said.

The rising number of gamblers reporting breaching self-exclusion suggests that additional measures are needed, such as a “motivational intervention”, or advice and guidance on where to seek formal treatment, the Lund researchers wrote.

The survey was done carried out by Anders Håkansson and Nikoleta Komzia of Lund University.

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