Over 10,000 Swedes have self-excluded in first week of new system
Over 10,000 Swedes have chosen to self-exclude from licensed online gambling sites after new gambling legislation came into effect on New Year’s Day. As part of the new rules, customers are able to restrict access to gambling as well as block marketing campaigns.
Sweden has opened its doors for business in a new era for gambling in the country. Before the turn of the year, the only option for Swedes to gamble was via the state-run monopoly. On New Year’s Day, over 60 companies started offering services to the Swedish market.
Terms of receiving a license include offering customers a way of adding themselves to a register which will prevent them from accessing gambling products and also prevents them from receiving any forms of promotional material while excluded.
The Swedish government insist that social responsibility rules ensure the risk from harmful gambling is minimalised as much as possible. They put the onus on operators to introduce measures to prevent gambling by minors, as well as insisting that the operators have robust procedures in place to prevent criminal or fraudulent activity related to gambling.
Dedicated Spelhaus self-exclusion system
A fundamental part of the new legislation is introducing a comprehensive self-exclusion system (Spelhaus) will exclude a user them from any licensed operator. This idea, which has been dismissed in the past by the global gambling industry as unworkable, could be adopted by other countries including the UK if proved to be effective. Early signs are encouraging, with the Swedish gambling regulator, Spelinspektionen, confirming that 10,000 had signed up for self-exclusion in just over a week of being active.
While the attitude in many European countries has been to allow the gambling industry to self-regulate, the incredible global growth in gambling, especially online, has led to many anti-gambling groups demanding governments introduce better protection measures for problem and at-risk customers.
Every licensed operator that offers gambling services to the Swedish public must contain a link on their website to the Spelpaus.se website. Here visitors can quickly and easily block access to gambling services and also opt-out of advertising. The options are 1-month exclusion, 3 months exclusion, 6 months and until further notice. Regulator Spelinspektionen has said that the majority of people who have already excluded have done so until further notice. It is worth noting that this option automatically lasts for 12 months and customers cannot override the exclusion until after that time period has passed.
A Spokesperson for the regulator said they were encouraged so many had chosen to use the facility, saying:
Game abuse is a widespread social problem, so it is positive that so many find the new service and use it as a tool to refrain from gaming and avoid direct advertising from the gaming companies.– Spelinspektionen, spokesperson
However, the regulator did admit that the introduction of the new regulations wasn’t without problems. Spelinspektionen confirmed that some licence holders did not have an active connection to the self-exclusion register. This meant that some customers who had self-excluded were still able to access gambling sites. The regulator states they have contacted the companies to question why this occurred and threatened that “measures will be taken” if this is not resolved in a timely manner.