Swedish Finance Ministry doubles down on credit card ban proposals

Sweden’s Ministry of Finance has detailed ambitions to replace a current ban on credit betting in the country with a ‘more comprehensive’ set of rules.

The Ministry explained that its primary rationale for this is due to concerns surrounding over-indebtedness, which policymakers believe has a ‘very close connection’ to problem gambling.

“People with gambling problems run an increased risk of over-indebtedness and people who are over-indebted run an increased risk of suffering from gambling problems,” the Ministry’s statement outlined.

Under the Ministry’s proposal, licensed gambling companies and agents in Sweden will be banned from receiving payments financed with credit, regardless of how and when the credit is provided – including the use of credit cards.

This is not the first time the Ministry has expressed its support for a ban on credit card payments for gambling.  Policymakers outlined their case in the “Enhanced consumer protections against risky lending and over-indebtedness” report last summer.

Swedish Minister of Financial Markets, Niklas Wykman, said: “Gambling for money on credit can lead to great financial difficulties. Therefore, we are now stopping that possibility. It is not reasonable for gambling companies or gambling agents to contribute to individuals taking such large risks.”

As it stands, it is currently illegal for licensed betting operators in Sweden to ‘offer or provide credit for stakes in gambling’. However, the Ministry argues that this ban should be made more comprehensive to effectively ban credit card payments.

Banning credit card payments for gambling would bring Swedish legislation up to speed with other gambling jurisdictions, such as the UK, where operators have been unable to accept credit card transactions since 2019.

This has also become a focal point for other gambling regulators and legislators with interests in reform of the sector. For example, a nationwide ban on credit card gaming payments is coming into force in Australia, affecting all forms of betting except lotteries.