What is the Swedish Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) doing?
The online gaming association, or Swedish Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), represents over twenty online gambling corporations offering gambling services in Sweden.
The association was formed in 2012 for Sweden’s gambling industry and overseas. All the association’s members hold Swedish gambling licenses where required, as it is an essential prerequisite for membership in the association and ensures high responsibility and quality.
The association’s members partly include gaming firms addressing themselves directly to end users via B2C (the business-to-customer model). The other portion of its members consists of game developers selling products and their maintenance to B2C corporations.
Directly marketing games to end users is licensed in Sweden, and all B2C BOS members hold Swedish gaming licenses.
Online gambling in Sweden was legalized in 2002 following an amendment to the Lotteries Act. The new law made Svenska Spel the proprietary supplier of Sweden’s iGaming options. Later in 2019, when the most recent Swedish Gambling Act was introduced, the Spelinspektionen Swedish Gambling Authority assumed a holistic approach to gambling in the country’s gambling market.
Online gaming has become the most prolific segment in Sweden’s gaming sector. Therefore, the Swedish Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) aims to offer a safe and healthy gambling market with a high level of consumer protection, aside from equal conditions for players in the gambling market.
The Role of BÖS in the Online Gaming Industry
As mentioned, the online gaming association represents gaming corporations and online game developers offering their services and products to Swedish end users. All the association’s members must hold gaming licenses to ensure quality and responsibility in the online gaming sector.
Online gaming is a huge business, the fastest-growing sector in the Swedish gambling market. Considering this, Swedish Branschföreningen för Onlinespel intends to encourage a non-discriminatory and well-regulated environment for licensed gaming corporations. Below are the primary goals of the Swedish association:
- Ensuring a safe and healthy gambling market where the market for gambling and social welfare concerns are fulfilled in a controlled environment.
- Social protection interests must be at the forefront while considering the ever-growing interest in various games and the risks of fraudulent and illegal gambling.
Regarding regulating its members’ operations, the association’s activities include the following:
- Promoting the gambling industry’s highest possible integrity, fairness, and social responsibility standards
- Providing a significant source of expertise, experience, and information for individuals looking to understand the industry’s operations
- Working closely with legislators, government officials, other stakeholders, and authorities to develop a proper system in which the industry functions
- Providing a central forum for the gaming industry to agree on policy, exchange knowledge and expertise, and apply strategic solutions to everyday and unique challenges
- Taking responsibility for players’ well-being by promoting responsible gambling
- Encouraging the fair and unbiased marketing of gambling services and products
The State of the Online Gaming Industry in Sweden
Online gambling is the most rapidly growing segment in Sweden’s gaming market. Regulated gambling in the country generated a combined revenue worth SEK 6.77 billion in the third fiscal quarter of 2022.
According to Spelinspektionen, online gaming contributions in the three months to 30 September 2022 increased revenue by slightly over 7% in contrast to the SEK 6.32 billion generated in the third fiscal quarter of 2021. The revenue accumulated via online gambling was SEK 4.21 during that period, up 10.5% annually.
According to a public survey conducted at the end of November 2022, commissioned by Spelinspektionen as an annual overview of the Swedish public’s gambling habits, 72% of Swedes had gambled in the past twelve months. It was broadly at the same level compared to data recorded during the same period in 2021.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the Swedish Government imposed temporary restrictions as security measures to avoid problem gambling. The proposed measures led to protests from operators, warning that the move would lead to a rise in offshore gambling.
Challenges and controversies in the Online Gaming industry
During the pandemic, temporary laws were introduced on 2 July 2020 to prevent gambling problems. The legislation imposed a maximum deposit limit of SEK 5000 per week for online casinos and land-based EGMs and online bonus limits of SEK 100.
The proposed measures were negatively received by renowned operators, as, according to them, they would only increase offshore online gambling activities. Swedish casino operators signed a petition by Branschföreningen för Onlinespel, discouraging Minister Ardalan Shekarabi from taking action.
When the restrictions were initially enforced, BOS argued that such measures would adversely affect players’ finances. According to the association, the limits would only encourage players to switch operators, making it difficult for the platforms to conduct AML and KYC searches.
The Swedish Consumer Agency published a report on loot boxes and gambling features in games, suggesting possible problems with the loot box business model. Regarding the protection of minors, the KO deemed there to be grounds for further investigation and, eventually, regulation.
The BOS entered an MoU with the International Betting Integrity Association in November 2020. The signed partnership agreement would provide a framework of cooperation between the two associations, collaborating on projects of common interest, such as encouraging effective betting, among various other things.
Future outlook for the Online Gaming industry in Sweden
As the online gaming industry evolves, ensuring a safe market remains a primary focus for BOS. According to BOS Secretary General Gustaf Hoffstedt, the association looks to maintain Swedish channeling, i.e., encouraging Swedish gamblers to opt for Swedish-licensed gaming corporations.
Hoffstedt also stated that if it wants to, Sweden can become a world leader, combining safe gambling with a flourishing and profitable industry.
How to get a license for the Branschföreningen för Onlinespel
The Branschföreningen för Onlinespel is exclusively an association for iGaming companies. Holding a Swedish gambling license is a requirement for membership in the BOS, as it ensures responsibility.
Furthermore, the association’s members must comply with its ethical platform standards for marketing gambling products and services. Members must also adhere to decisions made by the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman regarding marketing.
Swedish gambling licenses are only issued to:
- Those with the knowledge, expertise, and organization needed to operate their proposed business.
- Those eligible to operate the business while also complying with laws related to said business.
Ensuring the safety of end users and the fairness and transparency of the Swedish iGaming market
As stated, BOS focuses on offering a safe gambling market with a high level of consumer protection, aside from guaranteeing equal conditions for players in the market.
Its members are also obligated to comply with the guidelines set forth by the Swedish Gambling act, thus ensuring the safety of end users and the fairness and transparency of the Swedish iGaming market.