Sweden’s Ministry of Finance has proposed several changes to strengthen consumer protection against risky lending and over-indebtedness that could have an impact on the gambling industry.
The ministry’s report on enhancing consumer protection is 650 pages long, covering a raft of different topics.
In it, the ministry calls for the existing ban on licensees and lottery ticket agents offering or providing credit for gambling to be extended to a ban on promoting the opportunity for someone else to offer or provide credit for gambling.
The Ministry of Finance has also called on the government to introduce a new system for people in debt and credit registers to improve existing conditions for credit checks, something that several gambling industry stakeholders have demanded for years.
Additionally, the proposals call for a clarification surrounding the requirements for “moderation in marketing” for consumer credit products and for the inclusion of information on credit adverts about the costs consumers will incur.
Trade group the Swedish Gambling Association (SPER), whose members include state-run Svenska Spel, said it “shares the investigation's view that over-indebtedness is a large and growing problem”.
“We will now analyse the inquiry's proposal together with SPER's members and will return with our views in connection with the government's review of the inquiry's proposal.
In the past, there have been several pleas from Swedish gambling industry stakeholders, including from Svenska Spel, the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) and SPER, to protect gamblers by introducing a national debt register and the ability to ban loans to indebted people, but barriers to introducing such a system have persisted.
This investigation was tasked with examining the market for consumer credit and proposing measures that counteract risky lending and over-indebtedness, according to the Ministry of Finance.
The scope of the investigation included assessing what contributes to the risks of consumers being offered and given credit that they do not have the financial means to repay.
The assignment also included proposing a system for debt registers and assessing which measures could be suitable to give already over-indebted people better conditions to repay their debts, according to the Ministry of Finance.