Problem gambling amid pandemic

Kindred urges Swedish Govt. not to move ahead with proposed iGaming restrictions

Ardalan Shekarabi, Sweden's Minister for Social Security.
2022-01-20
Sweden
Reading time 1:47 min

Kindred announced Wednesday it has submitted a written response to the Swedish government’s proposal for yet another set of temporary restrictions on licensed online gambling due to the ongoing pandemic, after having lifted them on November 14, 2021. 

The government intends to stop problem gambling, claiming there has been an increase in online wagering since the pandemic started. Among the proposals, online gamblers would be subject to a maximum weekly deposit of 400 SEK ($43,70); as well as a pre-established time limit

“Kindred’s overall assessment is that the measures weaken rather than strengthen consumer protection which is the stated objective of the proposed restrictions”, the company stated in an official release. “The restrictions will obstruct licensees’ duty of care and impact channelization negatively, something even representatives for gambling addiction organisations have noticed”.

Kindred also emphasized in its response to the Swedish government not to move ahead with the proposal. 

“While it is our opinion that the government’s response to the pandemic has in general been pragmatic and enabled the Swedish society to be as open as possible, the restrictions on the online gambling industry have been ill-founded and did not meet the criteria of evidence-based policymaking”, Kindred explained in its statement. 

The minister in charge, Ardalan Shekarabi (Social Security), even got reprimanded by the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution for groundlessly claiming that gambling on online casinos had increased during the pandemic”, the company continued. 

Kindred deems the proposal “fails to establish explicit facts and concrete evidence as a base for the decision. In contrast to our recent and positive response to the same government’s investigation report on match-fixing and unlicensed gambling, we struggle to find anything affirmative to ascribe to the ministry’s proposal”. 

The company considers the measures to make it difficult for licensed gambling companies “to fulfill their duty of care”, and claims it has a negative impact on channeling by encouraging gambling with unlicensed operators. 

“Requirement to introduce added measures, such as a 96-hour lock out-rule on top of previously implemented measures within a very short time frame risks leading to a low-quality implementation of the measures and a random distortion of competition in the Swedish market”, Kindred pointed out. 

Finally, the company finished its statement by adding: “If the Swedish government, despite the serious objections raised, decides to move ahead with temporary gambling responsibility measures, the simplest and least problematic solution would be to impose exactly the same measures that applied during the previous restriction period”.

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