Swedish gov't ready to go hard on gambling ads

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-06 04:38:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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STOCKHOLM, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Sweden's Minister Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi has summoned representatives of the gambling industry to parliament to address gambling advertisements in the country, Swedish Television (SVT) reported on Tuesday.

"The Swedish people are tired of the extremely aggressive marketing, the unrestrained advertising," the minister told SVT. "If the industry is unable to take responsibility and observe moderation in advertising for gambling, then I will not hesitate to progress with harsher, mandatory measures."

On Jan. 1, 2019, Sweden introduced a new gambling act to re-regulate the industry. The act requires, among other things, that all gambling companies operating in Sweden be licensed, and that they must ensure gambling advertisements are restrained.

The act also prohibits gambling companies from direct marketing to individuals who have barred themselves from gambling. Over 20,000 people in Sweden have self-selected to be barred from access to online sites, but the minister noted that these rules were not being complied with across the board.

While the new gambling act includes measures to enforce compliance and penalize offenders, SVT reported that the minister has not ruled out tightening legislation if necessary.

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), which represents 19 of the country's 69 licensed gambling operators, welcomes the tightening of legislation.

"We welcome the harsh measures, because right now, unfortunately, there are reverse incentives. The more careful you are as a gambling company, the more market shares you lose," BOS General Secretary Gustaf Hoffstedt told SVT.

"We just got statistics from last year, which show that of Sweden's 20 largest ad buyers, 6 are gambling companies, so there is far too much gambling advertising, there is no doubt about it," Hoffstedt said.

According to the Swedish government, licensed gambling companies invest up to 45 percent of their revenues in marketing. From 2016 to 2018, total advertising expenditure almost doubled, from SEK 3.8 billion (417.17 million U.S. dollars) to SEK 7.4 billion (812.29 million U.S. dollars). Approximately half of the ads was for online casinos.