The secretary director of The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling, Gustaf Hoffstedt, criticized the decision by Stockholm public transport to ban online gambling advertising. In an opinion piece, Hoffstedt argued that the ban would have negative consequences for both the transport sector and the online gambling industry.
Hoffstedt highlighted the significant revenue that Stockholm public transport receives from displaying gambling ads, amounting to approximately SEK 20 million per year. He warned that the ban could lead to a loss of over SEK 50 million annually for the transport sector. Additionally, Hoffstedt emphasized that gambling ads contribute to funding “socially important activities” such as independent investigative journalism and affordable public transport.
He also raised concerns about the potential impact of the ban on the competition between legal and illegal gambling operators in the Swedish market. Hoffstedt suggested that if legal gambling ads are removed from public platforms, unregulated online operators would gain an advantage, as they would be able to reach consumers through other channels.
Hoffstedt accused regional politicians of disregarding freedom of expression and potentially setting a precedent for further censorship of advertisements in public spaces. He warned that a decline in public transport income could result in deteriorating conditions and higher ticket prices for travelers.
While acknowledging the need for heavy regulation in the gambling industry, Hoffstedt argued that the current regulations are fair and the market is mature. He emphasized the importance of protecting the legal gambling sector and creating a safe and secure market in order to prevent unregulated companies from exploiting consumers.
In conclusion, Hoffstedt asserted that allowing gambling advertisements in public transport would not only benefit travelers but also contribute to the overall health of the Swedish economy and gambling market. He called for a balanced approach that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders involved.