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Swedish operators say new rules promote illegal gambling

Are Swedish gambling regulators unwittingly promoting an exodus of players from regulated online gambling sites to the black market? That’s the claim being made by Swedish operation association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS). They’re making the claim based on a recent survey they conducted and are hoping to use that data to help upend recent changes to Swedish gaming law that limit deposits and strengthen self-exclusion rules.

According to the BOS survey, approximately seven percent of the 3,208 people they surveyed admitted to playing on black market gambling sites. It’s a number that serves the interests of the gambling industry, but many of those players also admitted to not knowing whether they were playing at unlicensed sites or not.

Regardless, BOS trumpeted the findings in a statement reported on by iGaming Business saying, “The survey shows what we have been saying for a long time: that strict restrictions on licensed gaming companies are why players leave for the unlicensed market. The Swedish-licensed gaming market is subject to so many government restrictions that gaming consumers are tired, and increasingly seek their gaming experiences elsewhere… Every consumer who is lost to the unlicensed gaming market is a player who is not reached by the Swedish consumer protection.”

The answer to this “exodus” of players to the black market is, according to BOS, a reversal of course on deposit limits and looser self-exclusion rules. Continued enforcement of the current rules, they say, would only cause black market gambling operators to “rejoice”.

So far the survey has had no discernible impact on Swedish lawmakers, who have shown no indication that they’re willing to roll back the new rules on self-exclusion and deposit limits.