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Kindred Group says proposed restrictions will weaken consumer protection

Kindred Group has said temporary restrictions will “weaken” consumer protection in response to the Swedish Government’s proposal to reintroduce liability measures.

On 4 January, the Scandinavian country’s Ministry of Finance proposed the reimplementation of temporary restrictions to curb a purported rise in gambling-related public health problems associated with Covid-19.

But Kindred believes these measures will have a detrimental effect on licensees’ ability to safeguard their customers.

By imposing limits on players, Kindred claims it will be harder for licensed companies to monitor their behaviour, while also driving consumers towards unlicensed operators.

“Our main objections to the measures are that they make it more difficult for licensed gambling companies to fulfil their duty of care and have a negative impact on channelling by encouraging gambling with unlicensed operators,” wrote Kindred Public Affairs Manager Pär Nygårds.

Kindred also asserted that there is little basis for the proposed restrictions. While it commended the government on its response to the pandemic, calling it “pragmatic”, Kindred said its online gambling restrictions have been “ill-founded”. Sweden’s Minister for Social Security Ardalan Shekarabi received the brunt of Kindred’s criticism.

Nygårds wrote: “The minister in charge, Ardalan Shekarabi, even got reprimanded by the Swedish Parliamentary Committee on the Constitution for groundlessly claiming that gambling on online casinos had increased during the pandemic.

“The current proposal for gambling restrictions fails to establish explicit facts and concrete evidence as a base for the decision.”

Despite its objections, Kindred said, if the government intends to reimpose restrictions, they should bring back those that previously applied, rather than implementing different, and perhaps more stringent measures.

Kindred’s opinion was largely the same as Sweden’s Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), however, the country’s regulator offered no opposition to the government’s proposed measures.

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