The Swedish government are going ahead with planned temporary restrictions for online gambling, despite appeals from trade bodies and industry leaders in the country. The measures will be implemented on July 2, will last until the end of 2020 and are designed to help protect vulnerable players.
This new course of action will add promotional, time and deposit restrictions, which will hopefully stop players from overindulging in irresponsible gambling behaviour and protect them from gambling-related harm. Ardalan Shekarabi, the country’s social security minister, says that these measures will lead to strengthening the protection for online gambling players.
Some of the restriction outlined above include, only allowing bonuses up to $10 and a weekly restriction of deposits up to $540. Time limits, per session, for players will also be introduced.
Many industry leaders, including Betsson and LeoVegas, object saying that this could disrupt the industry and result in boosting the offshore and unregulated gambling markets. This is bad news because players have ZERO protection in these markets and could possibly fall victim to online fraud, Identity theft, money laundering and even cheated out of deposits and winnings. Bitcoin casinos fall into an interesting space because non-FIAT casinos are not grouped alongside black market casinos and have a very different customer base and business model.
Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling regulator, has said that the measures could more than likely backfire! More and more players could leave the regulated market and look for bonuses and promotions at these unregulated casinos. Spelinspektionen have already banned 21 restricted operators since 2019.
What does this mean for gamblers in Sweden?
There are few changes that will happen. Swedish players will have access to the same gambling options, but, they will be more restricted in how much they can gamble and how much time they can spend.
There have been some alternative blockchain options, but most of them do not have a Swedish license.
At the moment, popular crypto-currency casino companies such as BitStarz and iLucki operate two of the best online gambling casinos. These casinos offer generous bonuses and promotions for anyone who is interested in signing up and playing. What’s more, these casinos go beyond current regulatory requirements. They offer much more player protection while also giving them a choice of deposit limits.
What could happen?
These new measures could hamper player choice and have a drastic effect on the regulated market. Where will they go to to play? and what lengths will they go to to play? One route is offshore and unregulated casinos, the other option, of course, is that players head to crypto casinos.