Swedish Deposit Limits Return

January 5, 2022
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With COVID-19 cases surging, the Swedish government is planning to re-impose deposit limits on online casino games and slot machines away from casinos, but at tighter levels than previously.

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With COVID-19 cases surging, the Swedish government is planning to re-impose deposit limits on online casino games and slot machines away from casinos, but at tighter levels than previously.

The government has proposed a weekly deposit limit of 4,000 Swedish krona (€390), compared with a SEK5,000 (€487) limit that expired on November 14.

Bonuses for the same kind of games would be capped at SEK100, the government said.

“The risks in the gaming market require that we tighten consumer protection, not in the least to protect the most vulnerable consumers,” Ardalan Shekarabi, minister in charge of gambling issues, wrote on Twitter.

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), however, claimed that the measures were self-defeating because players who want to exceed the weekly limits simply sign up with more gambling operators.

Before deposit limits, many players registered with only one or two companies, but since the limits, the industry has seen a sharp increase in the number of accounts per player, said secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt.

“Thus the statutory duty of care, which aims for the gaming company to acquire an overall picture of gaming behaviour and offer support to risk players, is lost,” he said.

“When gambling becomes as fragmented as it becomes with deposit limits, no individual gaming company can capture risky gaming behaviour.”

Tracking player behaviour and tailoring a response if risky behaviour is detected is “a cornerstone of Swedish consumer protection” in gambling, Hoffstedt said.

The new restrictions would take effect on February 7 and expire at the end of June this year.

They would take effect, however, only “if deemed necessary”, the government said.

“The assessment will take into account current restrictions and recommendations that are deemed to increase the risk of, for example, social isolation and increased mental illness, such as at-home work,” the government said.

Just before Christmas, the Swedish government urged all employees to work from home where possible and it tightened limits on numbers allowed at private and public gatherings.

The online casino restrictions came even though the percentage of “risky gamblers” has changed very little over the past four years in Sweden, according to data collected by the Swedish Public Health Agency.

About 4 percent of 18 to 64 year-olds reported what the agency defined as “risky” behaviour, at least one negative financial consequence or one addiction symptom.

Still, prevalence was higher among the young, the unemployed and those considered to be in “financial crisis”.

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