Stockholm Public Transport Criticized for Banning Online Gambling Ads
Gustaf Hoffstedt, the secretary director of The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling (BOS), has voiced opposition to the decision by Stockholm public transport to ban online gambling advertising. In an opinion piece, Hoffstedt argued that the ban would have negative repercussions for both the transport sector and the gambling industry.
Hoffstedt highlighted the financial impact of the ban, noting that Stockholm public transport currently receives about SEK 20 million per year from gambling advertisements. He warned that the ban could result in a loss of over SEK 50 million annually. These figures underscore the significant revenue stream that gambling ads provide for the public transport system.
While acknowledging that the motives behind gambling advertisements are not entirely altruistic, Hoffstedt emphasized that they also support important societal activities, such as independent investigative journalism and affordable public transport. He expressed concern that if legal gambling ads were banned in Stockholm, the sector might turn to international media platforms, leading to further financial losses for the local transport industry.
In addition to the financial impact, Hoffstedt raised concerns about the potential empowerment of illegal gambling operators as a result of the ban. He accused regional politicians of curtailing freedom of expression by implementing the ban in public transport, which he described as a crucial public space.
Furthermore, Hoffstedt warned of a slippery slope, suggesting that the ban on gambling ads could set a precedent for censoring other types of advertisements, ultimately leading to decreased revenue for the public transport system and higher ticket prices. He acknowledged the need for strict regulation of the gambling industry but argued that the current regulations are sufficient and that the market is mature.
Despite the existing regulations, Hoffstedt pointed out that the Swedish market still faces competition from unregulated online operators. He contended that banning legal advertisements would only serve to exacerbate this issue, giving illegal companies an unfair advantage over their licensed counterparts.
In conclusion, Hoffstedt stressed the importance of protecting the legal gambling sector and creating a safe and secure market. He maintained that allowing gambling advertisements in public transport would benefit not only travelers, but also the Swedish economy and the overall health of the country’s gambling market.