Lawmakers in Sweden are scrapping a plan to reimpose online casino deposit limits that were originally implemented during the early days of lockdown and the pandemic. Are governments realizing that lockdown-fueled problem gambling isn’t as big a problem as originally envisioned? Or is this just another sign of pandemic fatigue?
Earlier this month, regulators at the Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen announced plans to reintroduce deposit limits that had been in place for most of 2020 and 2021. The new rules were set to go into effect on January 27.
Under the terms of the new regulations, player deposits would be capped at SEK 5,000 ($529 USD) and deposit bonuses would be capped at SEK 100 ($10 USD).
Needles to say, Swedish-facing operators were not very happy about the new regulations. Many of them joined in a chorus questioning the effectiveness of pandemic-motivated limits and suggested that the new rules would fuel black market play.
Though it’s unclear what motivated lawmakers to drop the deposit limit scheme, Swedish gambling operators were quick to praise the decision. In a statement reported on by iGaming Business, Gustaf Hoffstedt, secretary general of the Swedish gaming trade group, BOS praised the government’s decision saying, “It is a wise and well-balanced decision that the government has made,” Hoffstedt said. “Partly based on the general development of the pandemic. Partly, and above all, because precisely these restrictions would not achieve their purpose of protecting public health.
“We are in favour of strong regulation of the gaming market, and a prerequisite for this is that the intention with various reforms can also be expected to have the intended effect. That was not the case with the covid restrictions, and it is therefore welcome that they are withdrawn.”
Across Europe, governments have struggled with how best to protect problem gamblers during lockdown, while still allowing operators to actually run their businesses.