Kindred Criticises Swedish Regulator

One of Europe’s leading gambling operators has come out with stinging criticism of the Swedish gambling market’s regulator.

Kindred Group , which is the largest online gambling operator in the Swedish market, has made a public statement criticising Spelinspektionen‘s supervision of the country’s online gambling marketplace, which was re-regulated at the start of 2019.

The company said that measures imposed by the regulator had proven to be ineffective. The statement came after the Swedish government announced that it was imposing a temporary weekly deposit restriction of SEK5,000 (€500) along with a cap on welcome bonuses of SEK 100 (€9) on online casino operators from early July.

In its statement, Kindred said that the online casino restrictions introduced by the gambling minister was a ‘populistic initiative’ and suggested that the result would be more customers turning to the illegal gambling sector. Kindred also say that the delegated powers set up in the Swedish Gambling Act were too wide and too vaguely outlined, leading to the risk of such populist measures:

“It could also be used by the government to deviate from the overall purpose of the reform. Warnings were not listened to and now we see our suspicions come true.”

Kindred say that on two separate occasions, it has referred proposals for regulatory alternatives to Spelinspektionen, both through its public affairs team and via BOS, the Swedish online gambling association BOS. The operator also said that it was not alone in its sense of frustration towards Spelinspektionen, also highlighting concerns raise by the monopoly firm Svenska Spel.

Another concern raised by Kindred is the fact that the operator learnt via the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) that Spelinspektionen would be enforcing new industry legislation in defiance of EU directives on business policy. The operator says that it has produced considerable evidence on how online gambling in Sweden has been impacted by COVID-19, but says that the regulator remains unresponsive on the issues involved.

The statement concludes by decrying what Kindred describe as ‘short-term populist policy’ which they say has been allowed to ‘outperform fact’. But they also emphasise that the company will be working hard to ensure that they are in full compliance with the new regulations.

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