The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS) has requested that the government drop restrictions for online gambling placed during the pandemic be lifted. All pandemic-related restrictions are set to be lifted in Sweden at the end of September but temporary online gambling restrictions will remain in place until November.
Sweden looks set to come out of the other side of the Covid-19 pandemic later this month, with restrictions across the country set to be completely lifted. One sector that is not having them lifted though, is the online gambling one. This has drawn some attention from BOS, with Secretary-General Gustaf Hoffstedt writing a letter to the government asking them to address this.
The original plan in Sweden was for all pandemic-related restrictions, including those in the online gambling industry, to end on November 14th. On September 7th, however, this all changed, with the government announcing that the restrictions would lift much earlier than expected on September 29th.
The restrictions were first put into place at the height of the pandemic in July 2020. Sweden initially avoided placing too many restrictions but decided to rethink its original approach in the face of increasing cases and deaths. It has attempted to lift the restrictions on several occasions but the move has been delayed for various reasons.
There were several key restrictions put into place in the online gambling world. One of the most notable of these was the decision to impose a deposit cap for players. This limited players to depositing SEK 5,000, roughly €400 a week at casinos. Other restrictions were related to RTPs and customer’s playing time.
The decision was made by the Minister of Health and Social Affairs in a bid to prevent too many people from gambling heavily during the pandemic. The belief being that with more people working at home, there were more opportunities to do so.
In the letter, Hoffstedt acknowledged that the decision to end all other restrictions highlighted the fact that the government intends to return the country to a normal situation as soon as possible. He also pointed to the fact that this means people will be returning to normal work life and therefore, the original purpose for the restriction is no longer in place.
Several land-based casinos have reopened in Sweden, with Casino Cosmopol, a state-run venue reopening back in July. The restrictions that have been put in place for online casinos have not been applied to land-based operations, which was something that Hoffstedt was keen to point out.
The Swedish government has yet to address the concerns that were laid out in the letter. It does appear as though the country does intend to definitely lift restrictions at the end of the month though.