Sweden - Swedish gambling regulator Spelinspektionen has fined online casino operators AG Communications Limited and Genesis Global Limited for violating the legal provision on reoccurring bonuses.
Official reports state that AG Communications will have to shell out over $52,000, while Genesis Global was hit with a penalty of over $179,000. These penalties are said to have been levied due to the operators’ “serious” and “repeated” violation of the rule regarding reoccurring bonuses.
The new regulation mandates that online casino operators with a license to operate in Sweden are not allowed to offer reoccurring bonuses; gambling aficionados are only allowed to benefit from a single, non-transferable bonus. Although neither operators has actually paid out on a reoccurring bonus, and Spelinspektionen acknowledges that fact, they were still adjudged to have violated the provision simply by offering and advertising such incentives.
A statement from Spelinspektionen reads:
“Gaming bonuses already pose a high risk from a social responsibility perspective, since many individuals with gambling problems have been attracted to them. The main purpose of the new gambling regulation, which came into force on January 1, 2019, is to strengthen consumer protection and reduce the negative effects of gambling. The limitation on bonuses is included in the law to reduce social and economic harms and to tackle problem gambling.”
This is not the first time these two companies have been penalised by the Swedish iGaming regulator. AG Communications was sanctioned back in April and fined over $316,000, while Genesis Global was hit with a penalty of more than $422,000 last March. Those penalties were levied due to the casino operators’ failure to integrate the regulator’s self-exclusion service.
It certainly looks like Spelinspektionen means business where the implementation of the law is concerned. The fines they have just imposed on AG Communications and Genesis Global are nowhere near the largest that they levied on online gaming operators. Just last month, Betway Limited was asked to pay over $528,000 and Mandalorian Technologies Limited was ordered to shell out more than $950,000. Both penalties also had to do with violations of the bonus offer regulations.
The iGaming regulator wrote to all licensees that will be affected by the new regulations last February, and warned them against offering reoccurring bonuses to their customers. In that same letter, they noted that several operators are creating different types of bonuses, and making those bonuses available to all customers, thereby opening up the opportunity for players to take advantage of more than one bonus. Spelinspektionen stated that this amounts to a breach of the bonus rules.
Spelinspektionen Operations Chief Patrik Gustavsson has also dismissed claims from some operators that the law on reoccurring bonuses was unclear. “[There] is a definition in the law that states that all discounts or similar financial incentives linked to games are to be seen as a bonus,” Gustavsson said. “It is also clear that a licensee can only offer bonuses the first time a player plays at the licensee’s [site].”
Spelinspektionen began penalising operators for non-compliance a couple of months after they sent the written warning. Gustavsson also warned operators that further failure to comply with the rules could lead to having licenses revoked.