Global Gambling Industry Faces Stricter Regulation

The gambling industry continues to be highly competitive. There’s a continual battle to attract and then keep customers and the offering of bonuses is one way in which companies attempt to achieve this. Free bets and bonuses are a controversial subject though and that’s been seen in several countries.

In Sweden, Kindred has been having problems with offering unauthorized bonuses and lotteries despite not having a license. Four years ago, Spelinspektionen, who are the gambling regulators in Sweden issued a sanction fee of SEK 100 million to Kindred.

The Administrative Court cut that in half and their case recently went to the Administrative Court of Appeal. That resulted in a further reduction of the sanction fee to SEK 30 million. The penalty imposed mentioned the activities of several platforms run by the Kindred Group. This includes Unibet, Maria Casino, and Storspelare Bingo.

In Sweden, licensees can only offer sign-up bonuses to their existing customers. March 2019 saw Spelinspektionen checks discover that unauthorized bonuses were being offered. This included a loyalty scheme for their bingo site so action was taken. In response to this, Kindred said they were in-game mechanics and not bonuses. Their view is that the rules on bonuses had not been clearly defined.

Further checks by the Spelinspektionen found more offers were being offered by Kindred, such as bets, bingo games, and spins on slots for which no payment would be required. There were also prize draws being offered on their poker games and they were deemed to be lottery games. With no license for that service, Kindred found itself in more trouble.

Kindred appealed the imposition of the SEK100 million fine. Courts decided that there had been multiple serious bonus failings but the level of the penalty imposed was too high.

New Regulations Campaign In Sweden Starts

A new campaign has recently been launched in Sweden that has the aim of promoting responsible gambling for younger players in the country.

The ‘With Your Future as a Bet’ campaign is aimed at gamblers who are aged between 18 and 25. Spelinspektionen’s head of communications is Yvonne Hejdenberg who has given more details on the new campaign. It “talks about the consequences of unhealthy gambling in an emotional way.”

Regulation of the gambling industry is being tightened in many countries. Areas of concern include the offering of free bets and other casino bonuses and also the way in which gambling is advertised.

In Bulgaria, a new ban on advertising gambling products on social media has been passed. The only exception to the new law is advertising their National Lottery. That’s because of the funding it supplies for Bulgarian sports.

In the Netherlands, the Responsible Gaming Policy has been changed. There is a new clause that covers financial deposit limits and more clarity for the ‘real-time monitoring’ of player accounts.

If it is felt by an operator that a customer ‘can no longer bear the financial consequences of their player behavior,’ then action must be taken in certain circumstances. This includes making net deposits that are at least 30% of their monthly net income.

Again, there is special attention paid to younger gamblers. Those aged between 18 and 24 should not be making net deposits of over €300 in a calendar month.

The Estonian parliament has also approved stricter gambling regulation laws. Starting in August, this will include new affordability checks for those whose losses reach a certain level.

Stricter affordability checks were also mentioned in the UK Government’s White Paper on gambling reform that was published last year. They are yet to be introduced and the fear is that such a measure could drive gamblers towards the unregulated black market. Reduced stake limits for online slots are also due to be introduced.

The way in which gambling is advertised continues to be a controversial subject not just in the UK. In Bulgaria, a recent ban on media gambling advertising was passed by the Bulgarian legislators. Only the lottery which raises money for Bulgarian sports can be advertised.

Recent years have seen massive growth in the American gambling market. The New York Senate has seen a new Bill introduced that looks to introduce new measures towards how online casinos and sports betting sites advertise their products.

Brazil is also taking action against the gambling industry. They are banning the offering of free bets and bonuses. That is a key decision as many overseas gambling companies are targeting the South American market. When new companies open up, offering such bonuses is an important way of building up their market share.

Final Thoughts

Tighter regulation is on its way therefore for the gambling industry. How products are advertised, stricter affordability checks and the behavior of younger gamblers is going to see changes. However, it always ignites a lot of talk and discussion and it means everyone is looking for the best option to keep this industry operating, but also following the standards and laws.