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Euro Operators are Adding Some Rules for Online Casino Bonuses

2020 has been a difficult year for most industries and the online gambling industry has not escaped these issues. On the one hand, there are more players flocking to online casinos than ever before. On the other hand, sports betting ground to a halt and as many casinos have sports books attached, they all suffered the consequences.

Online gambling

But as difficult as things have been, they may actually get worse. Operators are imposing strict new rules on casinos and many of these rules govern how bonuses work. These rules may make life difficult for casinos and they could also change things for players.

The Biggest Rule Change: One Bonus Only

In 2019, Sweden initiated sweeping changes to its online gambling laws, and in the process, it created a gold rush, as many of Europe's biggest brands rushed to claim their stake in this exciting new gambling market. The problem is, many of these brands, Leo Vegas included, didn't make any major changes for this new market and were quickly stung when their bonuses fell afoul of Swedish gaming laws.

According to these laws, players can only receive 1 welcome bonus and should not be offered more than 1 bonus at any time.

As players outside Sweden can attest, online casinos like to throw bonuses around and many of these come at the same time. For instance, it's common for casinos in the UK to offer free spins, matched deposit bonuses, and loyalty schemes, and once the first two of these have finished, players can also get cash back bonuses and reload bonuses.

The promotions don't stop, as they're one of the best ways to entice players to deposit. In Sweden, however, this generous approach to bonuses simply isn't allowed, which is why Leo Vegas found themselves with substantial fines.

It may seem like a counter-intuitive law. After all, if the ultimate goal is to keep players safe, why make it difficult for them to collect free spins and bonus credits?

The truth is, while bonuses can seem beneficial to the player, they also lead to problem gambling. Many players find it easy to walk away but impossible to stay away. If they gamble too much, lose more than they can afford, and summon the courage to back away, they may be tempted to return when they receive a new bonus offer. It's a vicious cycle that has trapped countless players over the years and it's one that the Swedish authorities clearly wanted to stop.

To date, Sweden is the only country to adopt such strict rules, but with many other countries opening their gambling markets and looking to Sweden for advice, it could be a matter of time before we see similar practices elsewhere.

No More Credit Cards

Problem gambling is a major talking point in the online gambling industry and one found at the heart of most regulatory changes.

In the UK, for instance, regulators recently made it illegal for players to use their credit cards to gamble. Prior to 2020, it was legal to do so and it was also very common, but as the country's gambling addiction worsened, it became clear that this practice needed to stop.

Many players were using credit cards to gamble with money they didn't have, often telling themselves that they would win the money they needed to clear their debts or simply letting their future self deal with it.

Of course, you could argue that the problem is just as bad with debit card gambling—money is money, after all. But there's more to it than that.

Prior to this ban, all players using their credit cards to gamble were hit with cash transaction fees and charges. Even if they cleared their balance in full every month and didn't have a rolling balance, they were charged a fixed fee and interest. Many casinos were also charging them.

It meant that a single transaction of £10 could have cost them an additional £10 in fees, doubling their losses and their problems.

Responsible Gambling

The UK has had a busy couple of years. As it prepares for Brexit and tackles the chaos of the Coronavirus, it has also been keeping a close eye on its gambling companies, many of which have been flouting its laws. The same is true for many other European companies, and while they have always taken a hard line on responsible gambling, it's only recently that they're tightened their laws and began fining those that are found in breach of them.

Countless companies have been fined for continuing to market bonuses and services to self-excluded players, while others have been hit with penalties after allowing excluded players to make further deposits.

Some of these fines have been pretty harsh. For instance, players have been known to get around self-exclusion laws by opening new accounts and using new cards, and when they have gone on to lose money, they've filed complaints and the casinos have been the ones penalized. This is how desperate the regulators are to prevent problem gambling, and that can only be a good thing.

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