Sweden Could Tighten Law To Tackle Illegal Gambling Ads

April 8, 2024
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The Swedish government has said it is open to introducing new advertising rules after a local TV show’s review of casino influencers found that eight out of ten of them on streaming platform Twitch are promoting illegal gambling.
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The Swedish government has said it is open to introducing new advertising rules after a local TV show’s review of casino influencers found that eight out of ten of them on streaming platform Twitch are promoting illegal gambling.

Following the findings revealed on the Kulturnyheterna programme, the minister for financial markets, Niklas Wykman, who is also responsible for gambling policy, said: “We can never be satisfied with anything other than complete compliance with the rules”, in an interview published on April 3.

“If further tightening of the law or adjustments in the regulations are then needed, then I am prepared to do so,” Wykman told Kulturnyheterna.

Streams promoting gambling not licensed in Sweden on the Amazon-owned Twitch platform often include skin-betting products, where video game items are used as currency.

A spokesperson for the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) told Vixio GamblingCompliance that influencers promoting illegal casino games are “highly problematic and go against current legislation”.

“Skin gambling is a cross-border and complex phenomenon, and we are actively working to find solutions that can limit its occurrence and protect young consumers,” the SGA said.

The gambling regulator has used its power to add both illegal gambling companies and people advertising them to a list of banned websites. 

“By publicly identifying these gambling platforms, we work to reduce their accessibility and visibility, as well as to influence partners to terminate their services to these sites,” the SGA said. 

On March 27, the SGA banned three gambling operators, two of which organised lotteries where skins are used as stakes and winnings. No fines were issued.

However, Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), alleges the SGA and the Swedish government “have chosen to focus on fining licensed gambling companies”. 

“Since the re-regulation in 2019, licensed gambling companies have received fines totalling €44m. The corresponding number for unlicensed companies and their partners, affiliates and the like, is €0 since 2019. It does not matter much that imprisonment is on the penalty scale for this type of promotion of unlicensed gambling when the sanction is not used,” Hoffstedt said. 

In 2021, US-based Twitch banned users from sharing links to gambling sites, following controversies over gambling addiction and underage play.

Twitch also updated its policies in October 2022 to prohibit streaming gambling websites that include slots, roulette or dice games from unlicensed operators.

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