Are Swedish gambling regulators driving players directly into the arms of the black market? That’s the opinion of Gustaf Hoffstedt, the head of the Branschföreningen för Onlinespe (BOS), a trade association for Swedish online operators. His views are the latest salvo in a battle over how much players can deposit in casino accounts without becoming prone to problem gambling.
At the heart of the dispute is a ruling by Spelinspektionen, the Swedish gambling regulatory authority, that limits online casino deposits to 5,000 SEK ($545 USD) a week until November, 2021. The idea behind the move was to protect pandemic-ravaged players from gambling away their life savings. But the new rules were rife with loopholes that confused regulators and operators alike. Though Spelinspektionen is standing by its guns, operators are calling out the deposit cap as a boon to black market gambling.
In an interview with iGamingBusiness.com, Hoffstedt observed that the deposit caps are ineffective and make regulated play even more difficult, “The restrictions raise the thresholds for licensed gaming, and in other words, lower the threshold for Swedish consumers choosing (black market gambling).”
“I am very concerned over the fact that this will accelerate the leakage from the Swedish licensing system to unlicensed sites. We already have a problematic level of approximately 25% leakage when it comes to online casino, and with these governmental measures it will only get worse,” he added.
The matter is set for a final resolution within a few weeks, but licensed gambling operators are not optimistic that the loopholes and onerous hurdles for legal play, will be removed anytime soon.