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Compliance Updates

Swedish Gambling Authority Deems Temporary Measures “Difficult to Assess”

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Swedish Gambling Authority Deems Temporary Measures “Difficult to Assess”
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The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has said that it is “difficult to assess” what impact temporary liability measures had on public health and consumer protection.

In evaluating online gambling restrictions put in place due to Covid-19, the regulator stated that it cannot easily attribute any developments to these temporary measures alone as the pandemic and new gambling regulation will also have played a role.

The SGA has submitted its interim report to Sweden’s government, outlining what effects liability measures may have had on problem gambling.

These measures came into force on 2 July 2020 and were eventually lifted on 14 November 2021. They were originally introduced in response to a purported rise in problem gambling due to the pandemic, and included a SEK 5000 ($525) cap on deposits at online casinos and a corresponding loss limit for slot machines.

But in determining what impact such restrictions have had on public health and consumer protection, the SGA has come up empty-handed.

While only four months have elapsed since the measures were lifted, and a more in-depth report is due later, the regulator has thus far found it difficult to distinguish which developments occurred as a result of said measures, and which were caused more by Covid-19.

“It is currently not possible to determine what effect the pandemic has had. Against this background, it is also not possible for the Swedish Gambling Authority to assess the consequences of the temporary regulation for public health,” remarked the regulator in its interim report.

“It is also not possible to determine what the development would have looked like had the provisional regulation not been introduced.”

Central Europe

ComeOn Gaming Secures GlüNeuRStv Sportsbook Licence

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The registry of the Ministry of Sports and the Interior of Saxony Anhalt has confirmed that it has granted a German Fourth Interstate Treaty (GlüNeuRStv) licence to ComeOn Gaming.

Cherry AB’s B2C unit has registered the brands sunmaker.de, comeonwetten.de and mobilebet.de under its approved German licence.

Though having secured its GlüNeuRStv licence, ComeOn has yet to disclose whether it will launch a sportsbook property, accepting the terms of Germany’s conflicted sportsbook marketplace.

At present, Saxony Anhalt has chosen to serve as the GlüNeuRStv regime’s interim regulator, as the state’s executive proceeds to establish Glücksspielbehörde (GGL) – German gambling’s new federal regulatory authority by the end of 2022.

ComeOn joins 35 foreign and domestic operators that have been granted GlüNeuRStv sports betting licences.

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Compliance Updates

UKGC Unveils New Guidance to Help Combat Problem Gambling

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The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) updated its new list of rules on high-risk gamblers. The new consumer protection guidance, which gambling businesses are required to take account of, will help them comply with new rules coming into effect in September.

In April the Commission announced new rules to ensure online gambling businesses do more to identify and take action to protect customers at risk of harm. The updated consumer protection guidance will help gambling businesses understand and comply with the new rules, which come into effect on 12 September.

The existing guidance and additional guidance issued during the COVID-19 pandemic will still apply and be available for operators to refer to until 12 September.

The new guidance provides further information for remote gambling businesses on:

  • identifying vulnerable customers
  • indicators of harm they must monitor for, including what is considered a “strong” indicator of harm
  • when to use automated systems and processes
  • how to evaluate the impact of customer interactions.

UKGC Chief Executive Andrew Rhodes said: “Operators must take account of this guidance ahead of the stronger requirements coming into effect. We are giving the industry time to prepare for the changes and expect full compliance by September. Every gambling business has a role to play to prevent gambling harm and this guidance makes clear what we expect to see, which will be supported with enforcement action should we need it.

“In the current context, including the rise in the cost of living, it is more important than ever for operators to meet these requirements to identify customers at risk of harm.”

The new guidance forms part of the Commission’s ongoing drive to make gambling in Britain safer. The Commission will shortly be launching a further consultation on the ways to tackle three key financial risks for consumers: binge gambling, significant unaffordable losses over time and risks for those who are financially vulnerable.

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Baltics

Lithuania Sets New Lottery Age Purchase to +18

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The Budget and Finance Committee of Lithuania’s Seimas (Parliamentary Assembly) has completed a draft decree proposing new standards on lottery play and advertising for the Baltic state.

The Committee’s headline measure has called on parliament to undertake a vote to raise the minimum age of purchase of lottery tickets from 16-to-18 years of age. If approved, Lithuania’s government will enforce a new lottery age restriction from 1 January 2023.

The decree has further ordered Olifėja, Lithuania’s state-sanctioned operator, to display age-range notifications and safer gambling warnings across its weekly lottery draws of Teleloto, Vikinglotto, Eurojackpot and further Instant-win games.

Olifėja serves as Lithuania’s national lottery steward, charged with raising funds for the National Olympic Committee, its business activities monitored by Lithuania’s Gaming Control Authority.

Since 2020, the successive Lithuanian governments of PMs Saulius Skvernelis and Ingrida Šimonytė have chosen to amend the laws of the 2016 Gambling Act.

Last year, the government ordered the Gaming Control Authority to ban all licensed operators from promoting any form of gambling incentive (bonuses, discounts, reward programmes).

Furthermore, the government granted the Gaming Control Authority direct powers to IP-block unlicensed operators and to issue bigger fines on non-compliant operators, changes that were sanctioned as a COVID-19 civic protection measure.

Lithuania carries amongst the strictest age laws for gambling in Europe, in which players must be +21 years of age to enter a gambling venue.

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