Sweden’s regulator gives operators deadline to improve marketing practices

Licensed operators in Sweden have been told to reduce their marketing or face stricter regulation, with the government promising to introduce more legislation.

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Operators have been told to self-regulate or face stricter legislation from government. © Pexels.

The Swedish Minister for Civil Affairs, Ardalan Shekarabi, gave operators until 31 March to see a “noticeable change” in how they market and advertise their products, while speaking at a meeting with all of the country’s licensed operators.

The Minister also did not rule out a possible advertising ban. Sweden, like its neighbour Denmark, has been considering the introduction of a whistle-to-whistle advertising ban based on the recently agreed advertising ban in the UK, due to be implemented this year.

Current rules around how gambling companies may advertise are somewhat unclear, with gambling firms allowed to advertise in “moderation”. However, there is no strict legal definition as to what constitutes moderation.

Speaking at the meeting, Shekarabi said:

Either they are the ones who take responsibility and create a sustainable situation in the industry, or the state will take its responsibility and go with mandatory legislation.Ardalan Shekarabi, Swedish Minister for Civil Affairs

Swedish public agrees with regulators

Public opinion seems to agree about the state of marketing from gambling firms. A recent study by the Swedish Institute for Opinion Survey, Kantar Sifo, found that nine out of ten Swedes thought that there were too many adverts from gambling companies. Interestingly, the majority thought that the rules should be stricter, with 76% of those surveyed in favour of stricter rules around gambling adverts.

Both the government and the industry regulator, Spelinspektionen, have been very active since the opening of Sweden’s newly regulated market at the start of this year.

Alongside advertising, self-exclusion is one theme that has taken centre stage, after a national media scandal in which it was found operators had sent promotional material to players that had self-excluded via the country’s national self-exclusion register, Spelpaus.

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