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Swedish regulator calls for credit card ban following government report

| By Richard Mulligan
Sweden’s gambling authority has called for a ban on gambling by credit card in a dissenting response to a government investigation on risky lending.

Spelinspektionen has issued its stance on proposals raised in a report published in July by the ministry of justice. Interested parties have since been asked to comment on the Enhanced Consumer Protection Against Risky Lending and Over-indebtedness report.

The investigation concluded that the reasons against introducing a credit card gambling ban outweigh the reasons for a ban. Among the measures it proposed were a system for debt and credit registers.

In response, Spelinspektionen reiterated its legal position that the Gambling Act outlaws licence holders from encouraging players to borrow. Those that do, it said, are contravening their duty of care, as outlined in Section 1 of the legislation. The authority noted that in a recent survey of licensees some 60% offered payment by credit card.

Sweden should follow GB, Norway lead….

Spelinspektionen’s director-general, Camilla Rosenberg, said that the legal situation should be clarified by amended legal text. While conceding there are practical problems with introducing a ban, Sweden could follow Great Britain and Norway’s lead.

Rosenberg said: “The authority believes the investigation hasn’t sufficiently taken into account the signal value a ban could have. It clarifies the perception that gambling for borrowed money is an undesirable phenomenon in society.”

The authority said it supports the majority of the proposals, including a system for debt and credit registers.

Rosenberg said: “An efficient and sound credit check plays a very important role in counteracting the over-indebtedness that affects people with gambling problems. The Swedish Gaming Authority is therefore positive about the investigation’s proposal that a system for debt and credit registers (SKRI register) be introduced.

“The Swedish Gaming Authority has no objections to the proposed design of the system, but wants to emphasise the importance of careful considerations during the further preparation, for example with regard to the question of what detailed requirements must be placed on a credit information company in order for it to be allowed to keep a SKRI register.”

Counteracting risky lending

The investigation examined the market for credit and proposing measures that counteract risky lending and over-indebtedness. The assignment included assessing which phenomena contribute to the risks of consumers borrowing money they cannot repay.

The assignment included proposing a system for debt registers and assessing which measures could create better conditions for repaying debts.

Since publication, the ministry has called for responses from a range of voices, including Svenska Spel and Branschföreningen för Onlinespel. Also consulted were the court system, healthcare professionals and agencies that represent consumers and banks.

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. The bill determines fines of up to AU$234,750 issued against operators who do not follow the ban,

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