Kindred Group responded to Sweden’s plan to extent the controversial online casino restrictions until June 30th 2021 deeming it unjustified. The aim of the move was to mitigate problem gambling during the pandemic.
The Swedish government caused mass divide within the industry when they announced the extension of the infamous new regulatory measures involving weekly SEK5,000($580.64) cap on deposits and a SEK100 limit on bonuses in bid to protect problem gamblers during the pandemic.
The plan has been in action since July due to suspected increased rates for problem gambling in Sweden during the pandemic. Yet, overall gambling activity rates have in fact decreased since the pandemic began.
While some parties favour the extension such as The Swedish Gambling Authority Spelinspektionen, certain industry experts and affected operators have voiced their dismissal of the extended restrictions. Svenska Spel for instance noting that during the pandemic, problem gambling rates have evidently remained constant.
Kindred Group slammed the extension plan stating that it wasn’t backed by facts and also juxtaposes the Gambling Act as well as the Parliments policy.
The operator also noted that as the rate of licensed gambling activity decreased, this poses issues as more people are opting for unlicensed, unprotected gambling sites as an “effect of the restriction”.
Kindred Group noted in a statement that:
the government has two means to increase the share of gambling that are under Swedish control: to create fair conditions for gambling customers to choose to play at licensed operators and to make the access to play at unlicensed operators more difficult. The government does neither.
Henrik Tjärnström, CEO of the Kindred Group commented on the situation arguing:
During these seven months that the restrictions have been in place, the Swedish government have not been taking any measures to determine the level of channelisation, they have not accounted for any measures against unlicensed operators in Sweden, and they cannot present any notable connections between the pandemic and increased problem gambling in Sweden at licensed Swedish operators
Despite the tight restrictions, Sweden's gaming revenue grew 1.3% in Q3.
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