Swedish Government Puts Efforts into Completely Banning Gambling Ads



Staff member
May 3, 2008
Operators in Sweden have been approved to start with their operations as of January 1st in the newly re-regulated gambling market. Shortly after their operations have taken off, the regulator has warned them to abide by the regulatory rules or else, reminding them that gambling advertising should be moderate.

Then, the Swedish government called all operators to come up with a plan and proposals on how they would continue with gambling advertising and present it to them no later than March 31st. The industry listened and gave its proposals to the government, but the government was not satisfied. In fact, Ardalan Shekarabi, the Minister of Civil Administration deemed their proposals as far from sufficient to deal with the gambling advertising situation.

A Complete Gambling Advertising Ban Considered

Ardalan Shekarabi came out with a statement saying that the industry had its opportunity to propose their suggestions on how to proceed with gambling advertising in Sweden, but their suggestions were insufficient. Deeming the gambling advertising situation as unsustainable, Shekarabi has set out to investigate the option of completely banning gambling advertising in Sweden.

There have been some seriously concerning reports on gambling addiction in Sweden, which forced the government to take action. That is why they have appointed Spelmarknadsutredningen, the country’s Gaming Market Commission to put forward an investigation to see whether ads have influenced players to gamble more. As Shekarabi said, the commission would have the freedom to propose a total ban on certain marketing, again, reminding everyone of the new gambling law that began to apply on the 1st of January, 2019, containing the requirement that advertising for gambling should be moderate. After reviewing the industry’s suggestions and deeming them as insufficient, Shekarabi has set out to tighten the law, because as he said, players are still exposed to aggressive gambling advertising.

According to the government, one of the measures that the commission can propose is a total ban on gambling advertising for ‘dangerous games’ found in online casinos. Shekarabi justified this reminding everyone about the fact that the Public Health Authority's survey showed that problem gambling appears most among those players who play online casino games and slot machines. As he said, there are a number of measures that can be taken, but promised that the government is serious about cleaning up the mess on games advertising. As people suffer badly due to gambling-related harms, the government needs to act, said Shekarabi. The government would take back control over the gambling market and would do what it takes to protect players.

Shekarabi explained that the problem gambling is a matter of public health and that it is the government's duty to act to protect its citizens. He said that the area where they see the greatest need for adjustments and changes to regulations is advertising. But he added that more measures are needed in order to protect the players, and therefore, the government has decided to conduct an additional investigation to the gambling market.

The Commission Gets an Open Mandate

The commission would need to come up with proposals for gambling advertising measures and is given an open mandate to suggest different solutions, a total ban not excluded. This might mean that gaming companies would be forced to limit marketing certain types of games, or it might mean a total gambling ban. The commission would have complete freedom in deciding whether to impose a partial or a total ban on gambling advertising. The final verdict is expected to be delivered next year, no later than 1st of October.

In addition to deciding on the ban, the commission would also have the power to propose limits on the size and content of Free Spins, other bonus offers and on jackpots ads and would be allowed to restrict gambling ads during live-broadcasted sports events.

Svenska Spel, the state-run former gambling monopoly, as an example for the industry, had announced that it would no longer publish online casino product ads. Patrik Hofbauer, its CEO, joined Shekarabi in his efforts saying that the government’s investigation is a step in the right direction, and that’s why Svenska Spel would serve as an example for the industry by not advertising its new online casino offerings. Hofbauer agreed with Shekarabi that advertising in Sweden is unsustainable, confirming that Svenska Spel could not support advertising a vertical deemed by the Public Health Authority as the most harmful one for the Swedish citizens.

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