The history of gambling across countries dates back a very long time ago. Then, you will have many people trooping into land-based casinos to place bets on their favorite teams and players. In Sweden, for example, these casinos were always packed full of people to explain their love for the game. Then, technology advanced, and many things changed, including placing bets.
With this technological change, online gambling was introduced into the sector. This introduction did not overhaul the existence of land-based casinos. Instead, it complimented it and created a system of ease for individuals to gamble on their favorite team from their mobile devices regardless of their locations. It was a good initiative that was further validated by the Covid-19 pandemic that resulted in compulsory shutting down of many activities.
The emergence of Covid-19 has brought about many changes in various sectors. Adjusting to the new normal has meant devising new ways to match the experiences of a new normal. In many countries like Sweden, as the new Covid variant — Omicron starts to spread across the country and looming lockdown restrictions, many Swedes have begun to spend a lot of time on gambling sites.
According to the government, online gambling has become another epidemic during this time. Many people seem to be abandoning their regular activities to spend hours of their day on gambling sites. In the bid to curb this growing gambling addiction, the Swedish government (who only previously lifted an online gambling limitation) is setting up new regulations to limit online gambling.
This article looks to assess the impact of the Swedish gambling regulations on the sector and whether it is a step in the right direction.
The Swedish Gambling Regulations
In June 2020, during the early and heat of the virus, the Swedish government set up online gambling regulations to curtail a growing gambling addiction amongst Swedes.
This addiction is a result of the lockdown policies and the rapid spread of Coronavirus. The government reduced the online gambling time per person to curb this, and the weekly gambling spend limit was reduced to SEK5,000 and SEK100 for bonus offers.
Towards November 2021, this regulation was lifted, allowing Swedes to participate in online gambling to their satisfaction. While the regulations have been down, the advent of Omicron, spreading rapidly while bringing about new lockdown rules and restrictions, supposedly has led many people back to online gambling for respite.
According to the government, indulging citizens’ increased attention and interest in online gambling sites with Swedish license breeds newer grounds for another social epidemic detrimental to the country. A new policy has been put in place to reduce the gambling spending limit to SEK4,000 while also restricting the time limit and bonus offers.
The Challenge of Implementing an Additional Gambling Regulation
While the country had succeeded in implementing a gambling regulation in 2020, lasting for over a year. It is not certain how implementing a new restriction policy on gambling will better serve the government’s purpose.
According to the Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, the restriction will bring out the irregularities of online gambling operators to regulate the activities of citizens. This is because the restriction will become another breeding ground for an extended addiction, seeing more Swedes looking for alternatives on how to still engage with online gambling.
Sweden Temporary Gambling Laws and How Realistic it is
While Sweden is currently evaluating to ascertain the possibility of another online gambling restriction, many citizens ask how realistic this is. The opinion amongst many is that implementing these rules is not based on any solid evidence since the government is still undergoing some research.
Online gambling could grow into an addiction with people restricted at home to reduce the spread of the new virus. However, it is not certain how regulating the ability of people to participate in online gambling can be completely curbed. The best the government can do is try; it cannot completely ban gambling activities. Yes, there is a growing addiction, but the sector accounts for a reasonable amount of the nation’s revenue.
While the government’s approach can be considered responsible, there is no telling that restrictions like this will serve more harm than good, especially to citizens who will be cooped up in their homes due to Covid restrictions. The general opinion is that participating in online gambling is a form of escapism for citizens and a way to contain the challenges of living within a global health pandemic.
The move for the gambling addiction restriction is still ongoing until the 15th of March, and while Swedes await the final results from the evaluation, there is no clear indication that a restriction can curb the issue; rather, it’ll exacerbate online gambling. Worthy of mention is that the continuous reviews of these laws is not to completely wipe out gambling but to make it safe for all and sundry.