The Jämlikhetskommissionen which is Sweden’s commission for equality, has called for imposing time limits on online gambling in its latest report. The commission has also called for the creation of a national portal that can enforce limits on deposits at licensed sites and serves as a watchdog for gambling advertisements.
The Jämlikhetskommissionen recommended that regulators should work to target problem gambling aspects specifically, rather than gambling as a whole. So far there are no clear cut solutions and the Commission will devote more of their time going forward to coming up with viable solutions.
As of now, one of the main was in which regulators could control problem gambling is by limiting gambling during Fridays and Saturdays, the most popular days for gambling in Sweden.
The Commission also suggested creating a centralized platform to monitor all licensed sites, where players can set a maximum deposit amount that cannot be altered by players at the individual sites where they play.
Gambling Similar To Alcohol and Tobacco
The report stated that gambling must be treated similarly to alcohol and pointed out that full-scale prohibition is unlikely to work as intended. The report also drew a parallel between the gambling industry and the tobacco industry, stating that the warning labels found in cigarettes should also be considered for gambling products.
Sweden recently made headlines when it released its problem gambling stats which showed that 2% of its population have problem gambling issues and 0.4% are classified as those with severe gambling addiction. A miniscule percentage of Sweden’s gamblers contribute to nearly half of the country’s gambling turnover in 2017.
The Jämlikhetskommissionen stated that the relation between income and problem gambling in the country remains vague, but noted it was more likely for low-income Swedes to be more vulnerable due to their lack of financial resources to weather a downswing.
Online gambling sites, especially ones that offer online casino games, have been identified by the Commission as the key instigators of problem gambling in Sweden. Nonetheless, the Jämlikhetskommissionen was clear in saying that penalizing gambling firms with stricter regulations may end up pushing Swedish punters toward unregulated black market sites.
Swedish Gambling Tightly Controlled
Sweden legalized online gambling in January 2019 and has received some from gambling firms for what they believe is an excessively strict regulatory regime.
For instance, the country instituted a SEK 5,000 weekly deposit limit for online casino games in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Operators have alleged that the limit is too low, and prevents them from competing with illegal offshore sites.