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Sweden proposes more comprehensive ban on gambling with credit

| By Robert Fletcher
The ministry of finance in Sweden has put forward proposals for a more comprehensive ban on using credit to gamble in the country.
Sweden credit gambling

Sweden already has in place a ban on licensed operators offering or providing credit under the Gambling Act. However, the government is seeking to strengthen these measures with a more in-depth ban.

This, the ministry said, is to help prevent gambling harm among players in Sweden. It said people with gambling problems are at an increased risk of over-indebtedness and removing credit as an option for gambling will reduce this risk. 

The proposed measures state operators and gambling agents would not be able to process deposits or bets financed by credit. This would be regardless of how and when the credit is provided, including credit cards.

Duty of care focus

The plans also re-emphasise that licensees in Sweden must have in place duty of care measures to discourage excessive gambling. It is proposed national regulator Spelinspektionen should be authorised to set requirements for what these action plans should contain.

This, the ministry says, is a clause suggested by Spelinspektionen to ensure licensees in Sweden improve duty of care efforts.

“Gambling for money on credit can lead to great financial difficulties,” minister of financial markets Niklas Wykman said. “Therefore, we are now stopping that possibility. It is not reasonable for gambling companies or gambling agents to contribute to individuals taking such large risks.”

If approved, the measures will begin to come into effect from 1 September this year. The full credit ban will not be put in place until 1 April next year.

Sweden regulator backs credit card ban

Spelinspektionen has long supported heightened measures to stop consumers using credit to gamble in Sweden.

In November last year, Spelinspektionen called for a full ban on gambling by credit card. This was in response to a government study on risky lending, namely the Enhanced Consumer Protection Against Risky Lending and Over-indebtedness report.

The investigation concluded the reasons against introducing a credit card gambling ban outweighed the reasons for a ban. 

However, Spelinspektionen reiterated its position that the Gambling Act outlaws licensees from encouraging players to borrow. Those that do, it said, are contravening their duty of care, as outlined in the legislation. The regulator also noted in a recent survey of licensees that some 60% offered payment by credit card.

Following a market trend

Should the ban be approved, Sweden would be following other major markets in outlawing gambling with credit.

The UK announced a ban on use of credit cards to gamble in 2020, with the ban introduced that April. The Gambling Commission determined the implementation of the ban had been smooth and did not lead to “unintended consequences”.

In September, Australia’s government tabled the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023 to ban the use of credit cards. 

Sweden’s Nordic cousin, Norway, also has a similar ban in place.

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