The Swedish gambling authority, Spelinspektionen, has spoken out against the proposals outlined in a government investigation on risky lending, calling for a ban on gambling by credit card. The report in question, titled Enhanced Consumer Protection Against Risky Lending and Over-indebtedness, concluded that the reasons against introducing a credit card gambling ban outweigh the reasons for implementing one. However, Spelinspektionen has reiterated its legal position that the Gambling Act already prohibits license holders from encouraging players to borrow money for gambling purposes.
In a recent survey of licensees, the authority found that around 60% of them offer payment by credit card, further emphasizing the need for a ban on this form of payment. Camilla Rosenberg, the director-general of Spelinspektionen, believes that while there may be practical challenges in implementing a ban, Sweden could follow the lead of countries like Great Britain and Norway in addressing the issue of gambling with borrowed money.
Rosenberg stated, “The authority believes the investigation hasn’t sufficiently taken into account the signal value a ban could have. It clarifies the perception that gambling for borrowed money is an undesirable phenomenon in society.” Despite their dissenting stance on the credit card issue, the authority supports the majority of the proposals outlined in the report, including the establishment of a system for debt and credit registers.
The investigation also examined the market for credit and proposed measures to counteract risky lending and over-indebtedness, including assessing which phenomena contribute to the risks of consumers borrowing money they cannot repay. In response to the report, the Swedish Gaming Authority has emphasized the importance of careful considerations in the preparation of a system for debt and credit registers.
The UK implemented a ban on using credit cards for gambling in 2020, and Australia’s government has also taken steps to ban the use of credit cards for gambling through the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill 2023. These examples serve to illustrate the growing international consensus on the need to address the issue of gambling with borrowed money. Spelinspektionen’s stance adds to this global conversation, advocating for the implementation of measures to curb risky lending and protect consumers in the gambling market.