Swedish court overturns regulator's licence decisions

25 July 2019

The Administrative Court of Linköping in Sweden has overturned the country’s gaming regulator Spelinspektionen’s decision to award four igaming operators one-year licences for the market.

However the court has refused to grant the quartet full five-year licences, instead extending each company’s certification to three years.

The four operators, Ellmount Gaming, Aspire Global, Gaming Innovation Group’s (GiG) MT SecureTrade and Hero Gaming, were only granted one-year licences by Spelinspektionen, as a result over concerns regarding each business’ finances.

The decision to limit these operators’ licences was a result of each company’s financial strength being ascertained based on the subsidiary’s results, rather than their parent companies. As a result of each subsidiary posting losses, the regulator decided that each should only be allowed to operate for a limited period.

Ellmount, which was awarded a year-long licence on 17 January this year, has had its certification extended to 16 January 2022, after the court refused to allow it to operate for the full five-year term.

Aspire Global, meanwhile, was only awarded a licence effective from 1 January to 31 December, 2019. It argued that though its AG Communications subsidiary had been the applicant, it would have access to the business’ full resources.

It accused Spelinspektionen of not carrying out proper due diligence on the wider business as part of the licence process. While the court did note the relative weakness of the subsidiary’s financial position, it said the support of the larger business meant that limiting its licence to just a year was unjustified.

The court took a similar stance towards GiG’s appeal, which also highlighted the financial strength of the parent company.

Hero Gaming, meanwhile, accused Spelinspektionen of contravening European Union law by limiting its operating licence to one year. This was rejected by the court. As with GiG and Aspire, however, it said the group’s parent company - and its financial resources - justified a longer operating licence.

As such, the trio had their operating licences extended to 31 December, 2021.

Spelinspektionen has the right to appeal the court rulings, and said it was considering whether to do so. The operators can also lodge an appeal against the three-year licences, to push for the full five-year certification.