At a time when Swedish vote counters are eagerly expected to announce the results of the Riksdag member election that took place on September 11th, and these members are then expected to elect a new Government, the country’s gambling industry is anxiously waiting to see whether its hopes for relaxed bonus rules could become a reality.
The current forecasts project that Sweden’s Government would change to a right-leaning coalition consisting of the Liberal Party, the Christian Democrats, the right-wing Sweden Democrats, and the center-right-oriented Moderate Party, by a single seat, with a total of 175 seats. If this happens, a new Government would be then formed, with the new Prime Minister of the country set to be selected by the Moderate Party.
Gustaf Hoffstedt, the secretary general of Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS) – the trade association of the Swedish gambling sector – has confirmed that the industry was eagerly expecting a new Government and see whether it could consider relaxing the rules for the industry at least a little bit. Mr. Hoffstedt recalled the fact that the outgoing Social Democratic minister responsible for the country’s gambling policy decided to formally put an end to the Swedish gambling monopoly in favor of licenses but then did not show enough care for the industry.
The Gambling Act that officially opened up the licensed online gambling market in Sweden was passed by the incumbent Government, but the local gambling sector has repeatedly criticized some of the rules faced by operators, such as a temporary deposit cap worth SEK5,000 at a time when the sector dealt with the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
A More Relaxed Approach to Gambling Regulation Expected to Be Unveiled
Swedish gambling licensees have claimed that the Social Democrat-led coalition seemed more inclined to favor the former monopolies in Sweden, including Svenska Spel and ATG, but it did not seem that foreign gambling companies received the same treatment. According to the gambling industry’s trade body, it was not right for the Government to show positive preferential treatment only to some companies.
According to Mr. Hoffstedt, both major parties in the potential new coalition that could form the Government had called for a more relaxed approach to the gambling business as a whole, and not only favoring companies with close connections to the Social Democratic Party. The local gambling sector remains hopeful that there could be some changes in the future. The secretary general of the gambling industry’s trade body shared that a possible sale of Sport & Casino – a subsidiary of AB Svenska Spel – could be higher on the agenda of the new Government if a governmental change eventually takes place in Sweden.
As previously reported, bringing changes to the standards that apply to gambling companies in their marketing has been among the most recent plans of the incumbent Swedish Government, which has called the approach the standard of “adjusted moderation”. At the time it was proposed, the industry trade body welcomed the fact that the Government had decided to abandon some proposals involving stricter measures, but criticized it for providing quite vague rules within that standard, saying it would create uncertainty across the sector.