The Minister for Public Administration in Sweden, Ardalan Shekarabi, recently announced the formation of a commission that will decide whether a “total or partial ban on gambling advertising” should be implemented. If a blanket ban is implemented, then the former gambling monopolies of the state will only strengthen their dominance in the industry.
Shekarabi also announced that the commission had been directed to deliver the verdict by October 1, 2020. The commission will consider a blanket ban on all gambling ads, as is the case with tobacco, along with specific conditions of certain gambling products which are seen as more dangerous for the public, such as online casino games. On top of this, the commission will decide on the limits on the sizes of bonuses that operators offer, as well as jackpots and free-plays. Shekarabi added that the duty of the commission includes determining whether to restrict all kinds of gambling advertisements during broadcasts of live sports, following in the footsteps of other markets.
The minister described the current gambling ad situation in the country as an “unsustainable” scenario because of many issues with “both content and scope.” This is not the first time that Shekarabi has taken steps to curb the nation’s gambling industry. For years, the minister has been calling for what he termed as “moderate advertising” for the gambling industry and has also repeatedly warned the new licensees to follow the rules and regulations.
Initially, Shekarabi directed the new online gambling licensees in Sweden to come up with an industry-approved advertising approach. He gave them till March 31 to submit their proposal. However, he ultimately decided that their proposal was not good enough to offer the desired level of consumer protection.
Good news for state-run gambling monopoly
Earlier in April, Svenska Spel, the former betting monopoly which is run by the state announced that it would stop the advertisement of its new online casino products. After Shekarabi’s announcement, the CEO of Svenska Spel, Patrik Hofbauer commented saying that the minister’s decision was a “step in the right direction.” He added that his company was setting an example for the rest of the industry.
Hofbauer’s company, Svenska Spel and another state-run company called AGT are dominating the newly regulated gambling market in Sweden. However, their competitors have complained that the two companies have unfairly marketed their offerings using their land-based customer databases.