The link between Sweden and gambling has been strong since 1934, when the government started to legalize this sector. Svenska Spel (Swedish Games) was the only gambling operator permitted to operate in Sweden. This state-owned gambling company offered online gambling activities to the Swedes, including sports betting and casino games.
In June 2018, Sweden’s online gambling was enhanced through a new Gambling Act by eliminating the national gambling monopoly and by dividing the gambling area into three sectors. These three sectors include online gaming and betting, a sector for the public, and the Swedish State sector. This new gambling regulation was followed by a Gambling Ordinance, providing better clarity to the Gambling Act.
On 1st January 2019, this Nordic country opened its doors to foreign operators by establishing Spelinspektionen or the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA). Apart from establishing this gambling regulator, a self-exclusion scheme called SpelPaus was also launched to curb excessive gambling.
SpelPaus (Game Pause) was released in 2019, the same date when Sweden opened its regulated online gambling market. This scheme aims to help the Swedes escape the gambling problems by blocking themselves from the licensed gambling websites either partially or completely.
In fact, the suspension can be three, six, or twelve months, or even indefinitely. The gambling operators in Sweden are obliged to integrate into SpelPaus by allowing their members to register at this scheme, and those who don’t abide by this rule will be banned. These restrictions lead to the appearance of non Swedish licensed casinos that are gaining huge popularity among Swedes.
In this program, the players who feel they develop a gambling addiction should sign-up at SpelPaus. When their registration is confirmed, they can ban themselves from the gambling platforms of their choice as well as related marketing campaigns.
This self-prohibited system is effective in sports betting sites, online casinos, lotteries, and land-based activities, including bingo halls and retail stores. According to Spelinspektionen, more than 58,000 people have now registered at SpelPaus, meaning that this scheme has been really helping problem gamblers in Sweden.
Statistically, the average age of the registered members is between 25 and 30 years. The main purpose of releasing SpelPaus is to ensure a safe and secure gambling environment that meets the Spelinspektionen demands.
With this scheme, the Swedes have the chance to ban themselves from participating in all forms of gambling available in the country. In addition, implementing SpelPaus allows the players to be aware of the possible risks that lurk in gambling. These players can, therefore, avoid the temptation of gambling at the websites licensed by Spelinspektionen. This suspension can be applied to all games in brick and mortar venues, online casinos, and all forms of gambling activities.
Moreover, as gambling participation has increased sharply since the COVID-19 lockdowns, Spelpaus is a solution to reduce this rise. SpelPaus has, thus, an important role to minimize excessive gambling. With this system, the vulnerable players will be able to block themselves from involvement in all gambling activities operated under the Swedish Gambling Authority.
How does Spelpaus work?
Any gamblers who lose control of their gambling or want to avoid this activity are required to register at Spelpaus. Once their registration is confirmed, the scheme automatically prohibits them from the platforms of their choice licensed by Spelinspektionen. They will be restricted from accessing all gambling activities and receiving all forms of digital communications.
Spelpaus members have to specify a period of time for which the ban will be applicable. Depending on their choice, this can be 3, 6, or 12 months but those who definitely give up on gambling can choose the option “unlimited”. Evidently, they cannot access their chosen websites until the period has elapsed.
After the ban period has expired, the players have to ask Spelpaus to remove their self-exclusion. Unfortunately, some players regretted their choice and have approached the authorities to remove their registration so they can start playing again on the website. Some of them can file a case in court when their requests are refused.
Although Spelpaus has launched recently, this scheme plays an important role in Sweden to reduce the gambling-related harms in this Scandinavian country. As stated by the law imposed by Sweden’s gambling Inspectorate Spelinspektionen, all licensed operators must acquire this self-exclusion programme. Aside from enforcing stricter laws, Spelpaus is another option to promote a safe and gambling environment.