Swedish Gambling Regulator Calls For Meeting to Clear Air Up

Jul 17

Sweden - The gambling regulator in Sweden, Spelinspektionen, has called for a gathering of all gambling license holders in the country to clear up any vagueness involving the new gambling regulatory framework.

The said meeting comes after many calls from operators for transparency on the interpretation of the gambling rules that were implemented this year. The meeting would take place on September 17 in Stockholm.

The online gambling trade group Branschföreningen för onlinespel (BOS) recently expressed their concern and surprise after the regulator slapped on substantial fines “without any prior warning being issued.” All fines were linked to accepting bets on football games that involved players who were under 18 years old.

There were eight operators that got hit with fines because of this offense. Among them is Gaming Innovation Group (GiG), which is behind two online sports betting brands in Sweden. The company, which was given a hefty fine of SEK3.5m ($371,000), is halting its sports betting operations until there’s lucidity from the gambling bodies about the said rules.

A number of parties are saying that the existing rules are too open for interpretation, which can result in inadvertent breaches. The CEO of GiG, Robin Reed, said that his company is “in an impossible position” as a result.

All GiG bets that were not yet settled on the respective sports betting platforms will be honored in spite of the interruption. GiG is looking to appeal the fine along with Bwin, the Stars Group, Betfair, and Bet365.

With the fresh regulatory framework only being implemented on January 1, 2019, 18 of the 67 license holders have already been punished by the country’s gambling regulator.

Previously, Sweden had been conservative when it came to gambling. There were a lot of illegal operators, which led to the government establishing its own set of bookmakers. Gambling became nationalized in 1943, and in 1997 the government collaborated with a lottery company to set up Svenska Spel. Online poker was made legal in 2005, under the control of the state’s gambling monopoly.

However, because of the rising influence and popularity of online gambling, the authorities could only do so much to put a stop to offshore online platforms that were targeting Swedish bettors. This led them to halt the monopoly on the sector and then, open it up to global operators.

Sweden’s gambling sector has three separate segments: online gambling and sports betting, bingo and lotteries, and slot machines and retail casinos.