Sweden names unlicensed gambling operators as new rules introduced

12th June 2020 9:15 am GMT

Sweden’s gambling regulator has published the names of 21 companies that are accused of targeting Swedish consumers without a license, as it prepares for new restrictions on licensed operators.

The 21 companies operate a total of 92 websites which the regulator has found to be targeting the Swedish market without a local license, with more than half of the websites operating from the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao.

Under the procedure used to combat unlicensed gambling, operators are only named if they fail to withdraw from the market after being contacted by gambling regulator Spelinspektionen, with the publication of the names paving the way for additional action by law enforcement authorities.

The publication of the names coincides with the adoption of temporary restrictions on certain forms of gambling in the Swedish market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which come into force on July 2 for the remainder of the year.

This will see players' online casino deposits limited to a maximum of SEK5,000 per week, with a corresponding loss limit on land-based gaming machines. Players will also be required to set limits on playing time for both activities and bonuses will be limited to SEK100.

The restrictions have been introduced due to the perceived risk of increased problem gambling as a result of unemployment, financial uncertainty or mental health issues caused by COVID-19.

“As a result of the current pandemic, we see a mix of circumstances that together create great risks in the gaming area. These need to be counteracted. With the measures, the government will strengthen the protection of Swedish consumers,” said Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi.

Despite Shekarabi’s assertion of an increase in online casino gambling during the coronavirus crisis, licensed operators suggest the opposite and have called on the government to make better use of available data to make informed policy decisions.

As a first step, the government has announced the allocation of SEK500,000 (approx. €48,000) to the Public Health Authority to analyse problem gambling in Sweden, with a report due to be submitted to the Ministry of Social Affairs by no later than February 28, 2021.

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