Date: 24.05.2024

by Adam Dworak

Swedish Regulator Supports Proposed Ban on Gambling with Credit

The Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, has expressed support for the proposed ban on gambling with credit, while also calling for greater clarity on the implementation of these new rules and regulations.

The Ministry of Finance has drafted these new rules to prohibit all gambling operators from accepting bets financed by credit, including the use of credit cards. This expands on existing rules that already prevent operators from extending credit themselves.

Action Plans to Discourage Excessive Gambling

The proposed legislation also mandates that gambling operators devise action plans to discourage excessive gambling. Spelinspektionen would be responsible for setting the requirements for these plans.

The regulator has long advocated for a ban on gambling with credit and thus welcomes the proposed changes. However, it has raised concerns about certain points, particularly regarding the potential impact on public benefit lotteries and the definition of “credit.”

Potential Impact on Public Benefit Lotteries

Spelinspektionen highlighted a lack of analysis on the consequences for public benefit lotteries. The current wording of the proposal suggests that non-profit bingo and lottery operations might not be covered by the ban since they do not typically accept card payments.

Nevertheless, the regulator pointed out that public lotteries do sell tickets via digital channels, which could potentially involve credit. Spelinspektionen recommends implementing measures to prevent such sales from being conducted using credit.

Ambiguity in Definition of Credit

Another significant concern raised by Spelinspektionen involves the ambiguity in the definition of “credit.” The regulator questioned whether this definition would encompass current accounts and debit cards that have credit limits.

Without clear guidelines, it remains uncertain whether operators and agents would need to investigate whether a debit card has a credit limit. Spelinspektionen calls for a more precise scope regarding debit cards to ensure effective enforcement of the ban.

Technical Solutions and Agreements with Payment Service Providers

The regulator also pointed out the lack of detail on whether licensees and agents will be required to implement technical solutions or enter into agreements with payment service providers to enforce the ban effectively. The absence of such details leaves gaps in ensuring that the proposed regulations can be practically enforced.

The proposed ban on credit gambling is not without precedent. Several countries, including the UK, Norway, Australia, and Brazil, have already implemented bans on gambling using credit cards. The UK, for example, introduced its ban in 2020, and the Gambling Commission has hailed it as a success, citing reduced gambling-related harm as a key outcome.