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Swedish gaming venues face new limits on opening hours

| By Robert Fletcher
Swedish land-based gambling venues are to face new restrictions on opening hours, after the government announced new limitations on the serving of alcohol, in relation to the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

A temporary ban on serving alcohol between the hours of 10pm and 11am at premises that hold a serving licence came into effect on 20 November and will remain in place until the end of February 2021.

This will also mean land-based gaming venues that hold a serving licence and run slot machines will not be able to offer commercial gaming after 10pm.

Outlining the new rules, Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen said this will apply to venues with a licence that specifically states slot games must be provided at a venue with a serving permit.

“This prevents the provision of games after 10pm, regardless of whether this game could be provided without inconvenience,” the regulator said.

However, Spelinspektionen also said that the new limitations on slot machines will not apply to land-based casinos in the country.

The fresh restrictions come after Sweden’s government this month launched a consultation on extending the temporary controls for online casino, including a SEK5,000 (£434.60/€488.76/$581.42) weekly deposit limit, until June 2021.

The measures, which are currently due to expire at the end of the year, also include customers being required to set limits on playing time when playing online casino games or slots, while bonuses for the vertical is limited to SEK100.

Despite these restrictions, gambling revenue in Sweden for the third quarter of 2020 was up 2.0% on Q2 and 1.3% year-on-year to SEK6.04bn, while online revenue also increased.

Online casino and sports betting revenue was up 2.1% quarter-on-quarter and 5.8% year-on-year to SEK3.69bn.

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