BOS slams Spelinspektionen for proposed yellow card bet ban

15 January 2020

Sweden’s trade association for online gambling, Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS), has criticised gaming regulator Spelinspektionen’s proposal to prohibit operators from offering odds on rule violations, such as a yellow card in football or a fault in tennis.

Spelinspektionen said it believed these rules would ensure that fixers do not attempt to influence individual athletes. However, BOS argued that - by bringing bets on these events out of the regulated market - the authorities will lose the ability to monitor suspicious betting on these events and to effectively police match-fixing.

“Of course, it is unfortunate to open the door to the decriminalization of the manipulation of sports events,” BOS secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt said. “Spelinspektionen  should, on the contrary, protect sports cheating and from these new opportunities for match fixing.

“The reasoning is that the new regulations should prevent match fixing, but in reality it clears the way for it. When you rob Swedish-licensed gaming companies of having complete betting portfolios, you hand over important parts of the market to unlicensed gaming companies.

“To contribute to the decriminalization of some manipulation of sporting events is to ask for intensified problems with match fixing.”

Yesterday, Spelinspektionen announced that it also aims to ban betting that a team or athlete will lose a match or tournament, and a prohibition on bets on the individual performance of an athlete aged under 18.

A consultation has been launched for all three of these proposals. It runs until 14 February, after which Spelinspektionen will take into account feedback and consider any changes.

Sweden’s online gambling trade body and regulator clashed frequently in 2019, the first year of re-regulated gambling in Sweden.

In July, for example, after a series of fines for Swedish operators for apparently offering odds on sporting events featuring a majority of participants under the age of 18, BOS requested an urgent meeting with Spelinspektionen for greater clarity on regulations. The regulator, however, said that operators were simply “unaccustomed” to its regulatory approach.

BOS later attacked the regulator's approach to tackling illegal activity in the market, claiming that its strict approach to enforcement of regulations on licensed operators was not being matched by efforts to stamp out unlicensed gambling.