Swedish Regulator At Odds With Trade Groups Over Credit Card Ban 

November 7, 2023
The Swedish Gambling Authority has urged an inquiry to “reconsider” its stance on not banning credit cards from gambling.

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has urged an inquiry to “reconsider” its stance on not banning credit cards from gambling.

A plea from the gambling regulator was made in a consultation response published on November 3 for the proposals made for an investigation into "Enhanced consumer protection against risky lending and over-indebtedness". 

In July 2023, the investigation proposed several changes in a report handed to Erik Slottner, the minister of civil affairs, including implementing a new system for people in debt and credit registers to improve existing conditions for credit checks, which is supported by the SGA and trade groups.

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.

The SGA said in its response to the proposals that it “doubts the investigation's conclusion that the reasons against introducing such a [credit card] ban are stronger than the reasons for a ban”.

“The authority (SGA) does not consider that the investigation has sufficiently taken into account the signal value a credit card ban could have when it comes to clarifying the perception that gambling for borrowed money is an undesirable phenomenon in society,” the SGA said.

The gambling regulator also said that the credit card ban “has worked in Great Britain and Norway”.

However, Maria Sedigh, CEO of trade group the Swedish Gambling Association (SPER), whose members include operators such as Svenska Spel and suppliers such as IGT, said her organisation does not “agree with the SGA on this matter, we agree with the inquiry, i.e. not to introduce a ban on credit cards”.

“SPER does not consider that there are sufficient reasons to introduce a ban on paying for gambling with a credit card,” Sedigh told Vixio GamblingCompliance.

Similarly, Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), said it “shares the inquiry’s conclusion, hence we are against a prohibition of credit cards as a means of payment for online gambling”.

In its consultation response dated October 16, 2023, BOS warned that a credit card ban would have “draconian consequences in the gambling market, especially in the online gambling market where our members operate”.

“There is no cash in the online gambling market. In the online gambling market, illegal off-licence gambling will never be more than a few clicks away on your computer or smartphone, and unfortunately, these unlicensed gambling companies will probably always be able to offer credit card payments,” according to BOS’ consultation response.

BOS added that it would not be in Sweden’s or consumer protection interests to “hand over such an obvious competitive advantage to the unlicensed and often illegal gambling market”.

The deadline for consultation responses is today (November 7).

However, there is no set date for the next step. The consultation responses must be reviewed by the Council on Legislation for referral and then a formal legal proposal will be put forward. 

In Vixio’s latest podcast, we interview Hoffstedt, who discusses plans to hike taxes in Sweden, how supplier licensing has worked so far and how its neighbour Finland looks to Sweden as an example as it moves to open its online gambling market.

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