Two Scandinavian countries with a large number of online casino players are instituting a new set of measures to regulate internet gambling. For Sweden, new measures are mostly caused by the situation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic while Norway is continuing its battle against offshore operators.
Both sets of measures are likely to have a significant impact on the online casinos operating in these countries. In the case of Sweden, the players’ ability to deposit funds online will be severely limited. For Norway, if the government manages to perform its plan, players will be restricted to only a very limited number of state-licensed casinos.
Covid-19 Gambling Limits in Sweden
We’ve published an article some days ago that discussed the situation with online gambling in Sweden. Namely, due to the pandemic and people spending much more time inside their homes, online casinos are booming.
While this is great for the operators, many in the country have expressed their concerns. This kind of a scenario can potentially cause many people to develop a gambling addiction, leading to many connected problems down the line.
After going through many different suggestions, gaming regulators have finally come up with the solution they see fitting. Namely, Swedish players will be able to only deposit a grand total of 5,000 SEK per week, which is right around $500. Players will also be forced to set loss limits before they start playing while the operators are only allow to offer bonuses up to 100 SEK.
In some ways, these measures are good news for the operators as Swedish Government was toying with the idea of entirely shutting online casinos for a certain period of time. However, the solution doesn’t address one of the problems that was highlighted when restrictions were first brought up.
Namely, these limits will only apply to regulated casinos while offshore operators will be able to do whatever they like. According to some estimates, around 25% of Swedes play on these offshore casinos as it is and this could only push them further towards unlicensed operators. In that case, measures won’t achieve its goal as they won’t protect players and will simultaneously hurt regulated casinos.
Norway Going Full Out Against Unlicensed Casinos
At the same time, Norway is looking to tackle the issue of unlicensed casinos in a completely different manner. Namely, the country’s government has ordered all banks to stop processing all payments to foreign gambling sites that don’t have a license to cater to Norwegian players.
The battle against unregulated casinos has been going on for some time in Norway. In this country, a majority of legal gambling activity is focused on Norsk Tipping, a state-owned company. The government would like to keep as much gambling money in the country.
This isn’t the first time Norway has tried to put a stop to offshore casinos. In December of 2019, the Norwegian Gaming and Foundation Authority (NGA) reported that some $256 million went through seven offshore companies in that year alone. This was a reason enough to ask the banks to stop processing payments.
However, casinos stood their ground and insisted that this order was illegal. They continued their operation in Norway while the argument moved to the court. Eventually, the court upheld the original decision, proclaiming the country’s Ministry of Culture was within its rights to impose such restrictions.
The measure was scheduled for April 24, 2020, and it will definitely make it harder for online casinos to continue their operations in Norway without a license. However, some operators might still find a way around it thanks to cryptocurrencies.
The online gambling industry in Norway is in a peculiar position. Some experts have suggested that banning online casino advertising in the country would likely decrease the number of people going to unauthorized operators. At the same time, this would be a big blow for local broadcasters, who stand to lose in excess of $55 million a year should such a measure be implemented.
Online Gambling Landscape Continues to Change
Although these and other measures that are being imposed around the world may come as a surprise to some, they represent a natural way for things to develop. The outcry for better-regulated and safer online gambling environment has been very strong in the past few years and we’re likely to see more restrictions and limitations moving forward. Some of them do have the players’ best interest at heart but this definitely can’t be said for all of them.