Official reports from government ministers in Sweden have proposed temporarily shutting down or placing constraints on online casinos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spelinspektionen, the countries gaming regulator, has confirmed that talks have been taking place to discuss the possible actions which can be taken to shield players in Sweden due to the movement restrictions that are in place.
Ardalan Shekarabi, the Minister for Social Security, is in charge of responsible gambling policy and warned that “extraordinary measures” may be implemented if gambling operators do not take the necessary precautions to protect their customers, precisely due to reports that usage of online casinos is on the rise.
Industry leaders have noted their dismay at the prospect of an outright ban.
Data provided by Spelinspektionen noted that there’d been an increase of 33% in new online casino signups and logins across 17 out of 60 licencees in the past two weeks.
Due to Sweden’s restrictive online gambling regulations, many consumers are looking for foreign gambling providers to play instead.
One of the main concerns of blocking access to online casinos is that players will turn to black market sites to play.
If Sweden decides to take action and close or place restrictions on casino sites, they will join the growing number of regulators who have implemented additional measures to protect players during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Danish regulator Spillemyndigheden, The UK Gambling Commission, and the Belgian Gaming Commission have all introduced new policies aimed at protecting players or helping them manage their gambling habits.
Spain has taken the most heavy-handed approach by introducing limits on Spanish bingo and casino advertising and banning bonuses after it saw an increase in player activity.
One of the largest regulatory bodies, the European Gaming and Betting Association, released its own guidelines for operators, and the Betting and Gaming Council produced a ten-point action plan.