Sweden Aiming To Reduce Its 2% Gambling Problem

Sweden Aiming To Reduce Its 2% Gambling Problem This week, Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt signaled his intent to bring the country’s gambling industry under tighter control and vowed to announce a new set of proposals by mid-2013.
The Prime Minister’s decision comes in the wake of a report released by the National Audit Office last year, which highlighted a rise in pathological gambling among certain groups of gamblers. Despite not yet reaching critical levels, over the past 10 years roughly 2% of Sweden’s 9.5 million population have developed addictive habits.
The report then went on to identify competition amongst illegal gambling operators as the main reason for the upsurge in problem gambling. The result is that the “widespread and growing” illegal gambling market is more attractive to players because of the better payouts and product ranges offered.
Nevertheless, one of Sweden’s handful of legal gambling providers, state-controlled Svenska Spel, was not free from criticism. The company has an online and live presence in sports betting, bingo, casino and poker, and players are required to set themselves a daily limit on both their gambling budget, as well as hours to play. Despite these restrictions, the report leveled criticism at Svenska Spel for not doing enough in terms of social consciousness marketing, and noted that “[Svenska Spel] does not currently take sufficient account of the risks involved with pathological gambling.”
Further criticism of Sweden’s gambling industry includes a vague and ineffective licensing system and the government has now vowed to propose legislation to tackle the problem by May 31, 2013. However, the report recommends a cautious approach and stated:
“If gaming policy is not implemented in a consistent and systematic way in the light of the objective to be achieved, there is a risk that this is contrary to the criteria for regulation in the European Union Treaty which may also result in gambling policy not working in an efficient and expedient manner.”

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