Tight restrictions on operators promote unlicensed play, BOS argues

| By Marese O'Hagan
Swedish operation association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS) has responded to a survey conducted by Sweden's gaming regulator Spelinspektionen, which reported a rise in play on unlicensed gaming websites in the country.

In a survey released last week, 7% of the 3208 people surveyed reported playing on sites that were not authorised by a Swedish gaming licence, though findings may not be reliable as a large number indicated a lack of knowledge of licensed and unlicensed offerings.

In a response, BOS outlined that the findings were unsurprising and that unlicensed sites could have dangerous consequences for players.

It highlighted the section of the survey in which those who had played with unlicensed operators gave the reasons why they did so. Among the most popular answers were to get around self-exclusion scheme Spelpaus and to avoid the country’s SEK5,000 (£424/€491/$600) online casino deposit cap.

“The survey shows what we have been saying for a long time: that strict restrictions on licensed gaming companies are why players leave for the unlicensed market”, read the statement.

“The Swedish-licensed gaming market is subject to so many government restrictions that gaming consumers are tired, and increasingly seek their gaming experiences elsewhere… Every consumer who is lost to the unlicensed gaming market is a player who is not reached by the Swedish consumer protection.”

BOS also reflected on what could be done to combat unlicensed play and problem gambling in players.

“This survey is interesting as it takes the temperature of why consumers leave the licensed market, but we need to do more to increase knowledge about the group of players who need help the most,” it said.

“The deposit limit on the licensed companies will not help the overall public health if the customers only continue to play outside the system.”

In May, the BOS spoke out against the proposed extension of restrictions on online gambling by the Swedish government, including the SEK5,000 deposit cap.

The BOS stated that the unlicensed gaming market would “rejoice” at the extension, as it would encourage more unregulated play.

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