STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden’s government said on Wednesday it would look at whether to ban advertising by online casinos and other forms of gambling as it seeks to tackle a rise in addiction, sending shares in the sector lower.
Sweden, which has seen a surge in online gambling from overseas-based casinos in recent years, tightened rules for gambling firms at the start of the year and called on the industry to put in place a code of conduct to protect vulnerable consumers.
But measures have not gone far enough, according to Minister for Public Administration Ardalan Shekarabi who said a commission would put forward its own recommendations.
“There is scope for the commissioner to recommend a total or partial ban on gambling advertising,” Shekarabi said.
The commission’s remit will include looking at whether to treat advertising of online gambling in the same way as adverts for alcohol and tobacco, limits on advertising bonuses, jackpots and free-plays and whether to limit advertising during live sporting events, such as football matches.
Shares in Swedish betting group Betsson were down 4.7 percent at 1218 GMT. Rival LeoVegas was down 7.7 percent.
Last year, Italy banned the advertising of all forms of gambling.
The European Betting and Gaming Association estimated that online gambling firms in Europe had gross profits of 19.6 billion euros ($21.96 billion)in 2017.
Reporting by Simon Johnson, editing by Johannes Hellstrom and Emelia Sithole-Matarise