Game break, the self-exclusion service that will prevent people with gaming issues from playing, has already received thousands of users. The service, known as Spelpaus, was launched in parallel with the new re-regulation that came into force in January 2019. The ban also excludes individuals from receiving any kind of promotional and marketing material from licensed operators. The service has been shown, in some cases, to release players even though they had originally been blocked from certain websites.
A note about regulation in Sweden
The gambling market in Sweden recently flourished, seeing a spike in the number of Swedish casinos. Sweden has regularised is gambling and casino market by, besides other things, imposing an 18% tax as well as license requirement for all gaming entities offering their services to any individual in Sweden. Other points worth of mention include:
- Players have a 0% tax rate
- There are several different types of casinos
- Age limit of 18 to play online and 21+ to enter a brick and mortar casino
The main aim of the new legislation is to ensure increased player protection and more transparency from casinos and operators. Fines and other punishments have been introduced for operators that are found to be non-compliant.
Online game-block and Spelinspektionen
The Swedish authority Spelinspektionen (formerly the Lotteriinspektionen) launched Spelpaus on January 1 this year, but there already have been reports of players who, despite being listed on Spelpaus, could continue gambling and playing money. Game break should act as a “register” for people with gambling problems or for people who are simply not interested in online games and register as a preventive measure.
From the gaming company’s perspective, the procedure is quite straightforward. All casinos holding a license will be able to connect to Spepaus.se. If they do not hold a license, they can still opt to use a testing environment to see how the system works for them. It can however, only be used for testing the connection, protocol and the system in general. It cannot, obviously be provided to real players- until the casino gets its license.
However, something a fluke occurred when several players were able to continue their gambling even though they signed up for Spelpaus. Sveriges Television or SVT, the Swedish national public television broadcaster, reports about a woman who has played away 8,000 SEK despite registering on Spelpaus. The woman in question was able to continue playing at the online casino. Reports suggest that this was not an isolated case and, many individuals have encountered this issue. The Gaming Inspectorate has not been able to find any fault in its own systems.
Spellaus – a success
Worthy of mention is that Spellaus is something of a success. On Monday afternoons, 8,800 people had registered at Spelpaus, and the influx is currently about 1,000 people a day. It attracts a variety of people ranging from those with gaming problems or those who want to register for other reasons.
The predominant part that has registered has chosen the “hardest” setting “Until further notice”, which means that the person who registers themselves is locked out of gambling for a stipulated period that ranges from 3- 12 months. After 12 months, the person can terminate the self-exclusion, otherwise it will remain in place. The system will remain in place and continue to provide the added layer of user protection; there will be further finetuning and enhancements.