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Svenska Spel CEO: Necessary Tightening of the Gaming Law in Progress

May 22, 2022 | Legislative

Sweden (May 19, 2022)

The government has presented its proposal for a stricter gaming law. The proposal focuses on consumer protection and a sustainable gaming market, which is positive. I perceive it as if the policy has listened to all important stakeholders along the way and has formulated constructive proposals and adjustments based on this. There are gaps in the law and the proposed reinforcements are important for the benefit of serious licensed players and make it harder for illegal gambling. The balance between these is mainly good in the government’s proposal.

Some of the most important changes in the proposal are

  • a stricter moderation requirement for gambling advertising of risky games
  • introduction of B2B licenses
  • promotion ban on unlicensed gaming and an extended advertising ban on unlicensed gaming

Developing new legislation requires precision. We gaming companies, together with other stakeholders such as the media companies, sports and gaming addiction associations, have been active in the process of finding the right balance in the tightening that is now proposed in the gaming law. On the one hand, make sure to close holes and gaps in the law, on the other hand, avoid over-regulation that does not benefit either consumers or the gaming market players. An example of consideration is the channeling, ie the proportion of Swedish customers who play for companies with a Swedish gaming license. This is an important issue because too strict rules risk increasing the proportion who apply to illegal gaming sites that do not comply with Swedish gaming law and the duty of care that applies to all licensed gaming companies.

We at Svenska Spel are largely satisfied with the proposal. Politicians should listen to the stakeholders. And we as stakeholders have a responsibility to come up with constructive criticism and suggestions for improvement. Used correctly, it will be an interaction where the goal is to find good solutions for the whole. There is a great deal of agreement even between the stakeholders despite our different perspectives. A long process is behind it and now it is up to all parties in the Riksdag to make a wise decision.

The bill makes the following proposals, among others:

  • An adjusted requirement for moderation in the marketing of games to protect children and young people and people with gambling problems from the marketing of risky forms of gambling.
  • A requirement for a gaming software license to gain control over software development and exclude unlicensed gaming.
  • A ban on the promotion of illegal gambling and an extended ban on the promotion of unlicensed gambling in order to increase the possibilities of preventing illegal gambling activities.
  • An obligation for licensees and licensees to provide information in order to increase the opportunities to follow developments in the gaming market.

 

Most of the amendments are proposed to enter into force on 1 January 2023.

The time since the re-regulation in 2019 has been marked by a number of regulatory changes, also as a result of the pandemic. It is important that the gaming legislation now has a chance to settle down and that the industry has time to learn lessons from everything that has happened from supervision, to judgments and yet another new law.

As an industry, we now need peace of mind. Adapting the business to new laws and regulations is demanding. Measures are necessary, but too much jerking creates ambiguity for both consumers and gaming companies. This is even though we look forward to the law being updated to close gaps in the law.

We still lack the proposal for a tougher grip on match-fixing and some other essential parts, including the processing of personal data, which would make the gaming law more complete. Our call to the government is to speed up that work in order to bring about measures that slow down the negative development also when it comes to match-fixing.

Seminar in Almedalen: What will be the effects of a sharpened playing team?

On July 4, during Almedalen Week, we invite you to a seminar on the topic “What will be the effects of the tightened gaming government?” . Lawyers, politicians, the gaming industry and other stakeholders are participating on site and the hope is that it will provide a good overview of how the tightening of the law will affect the gaming industry. Hope to see you there regardless of whether you are an audience on site in Almedalen or follow the seminar digitally.

PATRIK HOFBAUER
President and CEO, Svenska Spel

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