Spelinspektionen: most Swedish penalties still unpaid

10 December 2019

The Swedish Gaming Authority (Spelinspektionen) has revealed that despite issuing sanctions to licensees on 21 occasions in 2019, Åland Islands-based Paf is the only operator to have paid the sum owed.

Paf was fined SEK100,000 (£7,962/€9,469/$10,494) in March 2019, for allowing self-excluded players to access its site. It did not appeal the decision, and has since paid the sum demanded by the regulator. However, none of the other licensees have done so.

The first year under the new Swedish Gaming Act has seen Spelinspektionen take action against a number of operators for a range of offences.

These run from from failing to integrate with the country’s self-exclusion database Spelpaus to serious deficiencies with anti-money laundering and social responsibility controls - to the extent that Global Gaming had its licence revoked over such issues.

In total around SEK117.6m in fines have been levied, with the largest a penalty of SEK19m imposed on Betsson’s Nordic Gaming Group, for repeatedly breaking the rule that limits operators to offering players a single bonus upon sign-up.

Paf’s fine, coincidentally, is the smallest levied on an operator, with Legolas.bet fined the same amount for offering odds on sporting events featuring participants under 18.

A number have already prevailed in their appeals, with bet365, Betsson, AB Trav och Galopp and Kindred Group having penalties for allowing betting on events featuring underage players overturned.

Spelinspektionen noted that the Swedish legal system did indeed allow for appeals against fines.

“However, it would have been better if they had tried to understand the purpose of the law instead of challenging the legislation,” a spokesperson for the regulator said.

“If there is uncertainty about parts of the legislation, we recommend that the companies choose the safe alternative and do not risk violating the law.”

The regulator’s approach to enforcement has come in for a degree of criticism during the year, with operator association Branscheforenigen för Onlinespel (BOS) saying that more clarity was required. It has also claimed that the focus on penalising failings by licensees was only benefitting illegal providers.

Spelinspektion, however, has argued that operators are simply “unaccustomed” to its enforcement approach.