It is not news that COVID-19 has affected a lot of industries throughout the world, and the casino industry in Sweden was not any different. During the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the regulatory authorities in Sweden placed a temporary restriction on casino operators as a way of protecting consumers, especially through those difficult days when it all started. The world had hoped when the number of infected cases of the pandemic dropped and the world started reopening and easing- off lockdown measures. But in recent months, there has been a spike in the number of people getting infected by the virus on a daily basis, causing a second wave of the pandemic forcing countries to go back to lockdown mode, or enforcing new restrictions for social distancing. This in fact greatly affects Sweden’s casino operators who have restricted it since the outbreak. The “temporary” restrictions almost seem permanent as the government proposes to extend it to mid next year.
It was until Tuesday that the Ministry of Finance in Sweden made a proposal for the temporary restriction on the deposits and bonuses of online casinos to be extended. These restrictions which started on the 2nd of July were supposed to end this year and facing a possible extension to 30th June 2021 because of the second wave of the pandemic.
The state requires casino operators to set playing time limits for the online casino customers, in addition to the already effective weekly deposit of SEK5K and bonus offers at SEK100, which also applies to games on sight. The case with restrictions in online gambling hasn’t only been in Sweden. In Norway, online casinos also referred to as nettcasinoer in their native language, are well known to those who participate in casino activities. Since the gambling industry in Norway is run by the government with a lot of restrictions, many gamblers are becoming weary of the restrictions, forcing them to try out international casinos, and a lot of them wish everything could just go back to “normal” with less government interference in casino operations.
Not only has this restriction reduced the revenue of these casino operators, but it has also pushed some gamblers, especially those who are addicted to gambling, to urge operators to ignore the restrictions set by the state.
Although the Ministry of Finance is reported to decide this by November 23rd, many renowned gambling companies are against the idea and say that it is misguided and that the state needs to cancel such an extension.
The CEO of BOS, Gustaf Hoffstedt was not pleased about this, as was noted in the statement, saying that the state’s promise of “temporary” almost seems permanent. Because to him, the basis of the restriction prior to this was justified on the basis that a lot of Swedes were playing online casino games, which he claims was not the case.
Hoffstedt felt that this restriction was biased because there were no restrictions for horserace betting, which increased the number of people participating in the ATG horserace betting operation run by the government. And this caught the attention of many, especially those who are into casino betting.
According to Hoffstedt, this restriction meant that many Swedish nationals will start gambling in other countries and might fall into the hands of scammers who are not properly licensed, especially because statistics has indicated that there was a leakage from the regulatory body that licenses international online casinos in Sweden and that it could only get worse.