BOS, the Swedish trade association for online gambling (Branschföreningen för Onlinespe), has reacted with ill-disguised anger to calls that betting in the country be subjected to even tighter marketing controls.
Following a major review of Sweden’s SEK25 billion-a-year gaming industry (£2.11bn/US$2.99bn/€2.46bn), the nation’s Ministry of Finance has recommended that from July next year all betting ads be controlled under so-called “special moderation”, akin to current marketing limits on alcohol.
Hitherto, ad controls simply call for “moderation” when promoting betting.
According to the new proposal, advertising for gambling should no longer be “intrusive” — or even “urge” people to bet.
And in what can only be described as a dystopian rider: “Detail, typography and layout” of all advertising and marketing of gambling should be “assessed in the light of the requirement for special moderation”.
Unsurprisingly BOS has unequivocally rejected the turn of the advertising screw.
“Swedish-licensed gambling operators have [already] halved their advertising purchases since a peak in 2018-2019,” said BOS Secretary General Gustaf Hoffstedt.
“I do not understand [just] how low investments in marketing must be for the government to be satisfied.
“Gaming advertising from licensed gambling companies in Sweden fulfils an important function for a safe and secure gaming market.
“Advertising strengthens the motivation for gambling consumers to choose Swedish-licensed gambling instead of the alarmingly high proportion of unlicensed gaming,” Hoffstedt argued.
And he further contended that tighter ad controls would particularly boost the illegal online market.
“When it comes to online casino every fourth gambling krona leaks out of the licensing system and with that the strong consumer protection also sips away,” said the boss of BOS.
Meantime, in a bid to redress negative accusations and perceptions of the industry from consumer agencies, four of Sweden’s top licenced operators, Betsson, Kindred, LeoVegas and William Hill, have launched a new site called Facts About Gambling (Fakta Om Spel).
The platform will feature independent, unvarnished, information regarding the industry, its significant contribution to the country’s tax and employment and, crucially, its embrace of safe gambling and duty of care protocols.