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Responsible gaming in all channels

Svenska Spel develops targeted responsible gaming ­measures for the various sales channels.

Responsibility in the retailer channel

Retailers impose an age limit of 18 when purchasing all of Svenska Spel’s products. To collect winnings, customers must also prove that they have turned 18. All forms of gaming on credit are forbidden.

Svenska Spel regularly checks its retailers’ age verification procedures through test purchases. The procedures were reviewed in 2014 and the number of test purchases increased by 72%. A total of 85% (81) of the gaming retailers passed the test. A total of 75% (65) of the lottery retailers passed.

Retailers who fail two consecutive tests are barred for two weeks, which, in 2014, impacted 88 (132) lottery and 19 (15) gaming retailers out of a total of 5,400. In 2014, ­Svenska Spel tightened its rules to the extent that retailers who failed three consecutive tests had their contracts ter­minated with immediate effect. Previously, they were terminated after failing four consecutive checks, three (two) lottery retailers lost their sales permits during the year. Another eight retailers (nine) lost their contracts with Svenska Spel due to serious breaches of contract, of which two (one) were due to illegal gaming machines in the stores.

Responsibility for Vegas

Svenska Spel’s mandate, to offer games on VLTs, is linked to clear restrictions regarding the location and number as well as levels for winnings and stakes for the VLTs. Under the Swedish Lotteries Act, the VLTs may only be located in restaurants with alcohol licences and in bingo halls with bingo permits, to ensure that the game is played in environments that enforce age limits. The gaming locations are approved by the Swedish Gambling Authority after receiving comments from the municipality.

In 2014, Svenska Spel conducted 2,307 test purchases (2,341) among its Vegas business partners to ensure that they were making sure that no minors were playing Vegas VLTs. Some 84% passed the tests, which was up slightly compared with the preceding year.

During the year, Svenska Spel also tightened the rules for Vegas business partners to the effect that failing two consecutive age checks will result in Vegas being shut down for a period of two weeks and a review of procedures and, in the event of a third failure to perform an age check, the contract is terminated with immediate effect and the VLTs removed.

Together with the introduction of obligatory game registration in 2014, Svenska Spel has implemented the proposed responsibility measures that resulted from the independent investigation of Vegas initiated by Svenska Spel in 2012. The aim of the investigation was to identify development areas for responsible gaming at Vegas and minimise the risks associated with the gaming form.

Reduced number of VLTs with new regulations

To ensure that VLTs remain a supplement to business partners’ ordinary operations a limit rule is applied for gaining a gaming permit. On 1 January 2013, a new limit rule entered force in response to the lowering of VAT for restaurants. The rule which was issued by the Swedish Gambling Authority means that business partners must have sales of at least SEK 1 million to gain a permit for one VLT, with a sliding scale for sales up to a maximum number of five VLTs. In 2014, the limit rule reached its full effect which meant a reduction in the total number of VLTs and, in some cases, resulted in the termination of agreements. Some of the business partners impacted were located in rural areas.

Responsibility at Svenska Spel’s casinos

Responsible gaming is a core element of the hospitality of Casino Cosmopol’s employees. Casino Cosmopol holds a mandatory training programme in responsible gaming for all employees. The casinos’ staff work proactively and engage in dialogue with guests who show signs that the game is no longer enjoyable.

Casino Cosmopol applies an age limit of 20 and works to hold preventive dialogues with guests aged 20 to 24, who comprise a risk group according to the Public Health Agency of Sweden. The aim is to have a dialogue with all guests aged 20 to 24 who make 15 or more visits during a three-month period. Casino Cosmopol’s guest registration system has facilitated efforts to identify guests in the relevant target group. In 2014, 3,736 dialogues (4,663) were held with guests who showed signs of unhealthy gaming behaviour or who belonged to the group of young guests.

For guests who perceive their gaming as becoming problematic, voluntary agreements can be signed to limit their casino visits or exclude themselves for at least three months. The casino informs guests of this possibility during a responsible gaming dialogue. Some 2,587 voluntary exclusion agreements (2,468) were signed during the year.

The staff are not permitted to accept tips and no bonus or other incentive system is in place to encourage gaming. Quite the reverse, employees are encouraged to reduce unsound gaming practices. Employees at Casino Cosmopol are not permitted to play at the casinos.

Online casino application

Online casino games have taken about 12% of the entire net gaming market in Sweden and, currently, all gaming is with unregulated gaming companies outside the control and licensing of the Swedish authorities. These companies often have a business model built on aggressive marketing and bonus systems. The proportion of players with gaming problems in online casino games is relatively high and Swedish customers currently have no alternative to the online casinos offered by unregulated gaming companies.

Svenska Spel’s mandate includes providing games that can entail risks of a social nature, when this is believed to be able to curb gaming in uncontrolled forms. Accordingly, in June 2014, Svenska Spel submitted an application to the Government for a permit to provide an online casino. An online casino under Svenska Spel’s auspices would have ­better ­prerequisites for dealing with risky online-casino ­gaming in ­Sweden and demand could be channelled toward an operator who prioritises responsibility over profits.

Information to customers

Information about risky gaming and where customers and relatives can turn in the event of problems is accessible at all gaming channels (retailers, business partners, online, mobile phones and casinos). In 2014, Svenska Spel focused on informing customers about the Company’s assignment to promote a healthy and safe gaming market and the introduction of obligatory registration with the Spelkortet customer card for all games except paper lottery tickets and Casino Cosmopol.

Additional information is accessible on Svenska Spel’s website under the heading “Spela Lagom” (play in moderation), which is targeted at customers, relatives and employers with the aim of spreading awareness of the games’ risks.

Dialogue with gambling addiction associations

As part of increasing knowledge about gaming problems, Svenska Spel maintains an ongoing dialogue with gambling addiction associations and representatives for the care and treatment of gambling addiction. Representatives from

Svenska Spel visit the gambling addiction associations and meet them at separate forums. The dialogue provides the Company with valuable knowledge about developments in the area and opinions about Svenska Spel’s responsible gaming initiatives, as well as its new products and marketing.

Supporting research on gaming problems

Gaming research is a relatively young area of research in ­Sweden. Svenska Spel wants to contribute to increased knowledge of gaming and preventive initiatives to combat gaming problems and, accordingly, established a Research Council in 2010. The Council is comprised of experienced researchers and representatives from the Public Health Agency of Sweden and the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR).

Over a four-year period (2011–2014), Svenska Spel contributed a total of SEK 20 million to the Research Council. Applications are assessed based on scientific quality and relevance to society.

In autumn 2014, the Research Council arranged its annual research day for gaming researchers in Sweden and key decision-makers in the area of gambling addiction. The seminar’s theme was gaming problems with particular focus on young people. This year’s speaker was Professor Jeffrey Derevensky from Canada who spoke about gaming problems among young people and Associate Professor Neven Ricijas from Croatia who spoke about gaming problems among young people in Croatia and the available preventive strategies.

Supporting research at Lund University

Svenska Spel has initiated a partnership with Lund University to fund a research position in addictive disorders with particular focus on gambling addiction. The position will focus on research into preventive measures to counter gambling addiction.

Svenska Spel will invest SEK 2.5 million per year to fund the position for a period of five years and increase collaboration with the university on gambling addiction issues. The investment is completely in line with Svenska Spel’s mandate to work to prevent gaming problems and strengthen customer protection.

Help Line 020-81 91 00

Svenska Spel marks all its gaming coupons, ticket rolls and lottery tickets with the telephone number to the Help Line. The number is displayed at all gaming venues and is also now included on all advertising. Customers or their relatives can call the Help Line for professional advice and assistance concerning gambling addiction or gaming problems. The Help Line is financed by the Public Health Agency of Sweden.

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