The online gaming operators’ association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS) has slammed a report from Sweden’s Equality Commission which proposed that all gambling should be operated via a state-run portal.
The report, which the commission produced last year, compared its proposal to Sweden’s state monopoly on alcohol sales. It said such a system would allow the national gaming regulator Spelinspektionen to act as a gatekeeper.
It also proposed an amendment to Sweden’s constitution to restrict gambling ads and enforce mandatory warnings similar to those on cigarettes, such as “Most who gamble lose money” and “Gambling addiction increases the risk of suicide.” It also called for a daily limit on gambling spending, but didn’t propose an amount.
As part of a consultation on the report, which began in January, BOS attacked the proposals and said they demonstrated insufficient research on the sector.
It said in its response: “BOS rejects these proposals and hopes that future public investigations will focus more on the knowledge-gathering phase in investigative work in the future so that greater clarity can be brought regarding how gaming on the internet works and what consequences different interventions have.
“It is our belief that state internet portals will then not be relevant to propose again, nor restrictions on the constitutional freedom of expression.”
BOS criticised the commission for not consulting industry experts and warned over the falling market channelisation in Sweden.
It said: “The balancing act for gaming policy is to achieve as high a level of consumer protection as possible without the leakage to the unregulated gaming market becoming unacceptably high. It is not an easy task.
“This difficult balancing act is not something that seems to worry the Equality Commission. It now appears that the Equality Commission is coming up with proposals that go much further in a tightening direction than the state’s gambling policy inquiries.”