Swedish Regulator Threatens Fines in Letter to Operators

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Sweden gets tough on operators over self-exclusion,

30-second summary

Swedish regulator Spelinspektionen gets tough about self-exclusion
• It has issued a letter to all 66 regulators saying they require immediate action
• Threat of 10% of revenue penalties for those who don’t comply
• Second time this month the regulator has written to operators

New regulatory body taking over

January 1 marked the introduction of a new regulatory authority in Sweden: Spelinspektionen, taking over from Lotteriinspektionen.

That also marked the day that the regulator, in whatever incarnation, got tough. Its job is to impose the country’s new gambling regulations, which also came in to effect on the same day. The organization is already receiving complaints.

Not even a month into the new regulations, the Spelinspektionen has made public a strongly worded letter it sent to all 66 companies that are approved to operate in the country.

Key failures listed

The letter details how the body has received “many complaints and tips on deficiencies in gaming companies in several different areas.” The key failures seem to be the lack of background checks imposed by some operators, including simple things such as not checking a customers’ name against the country’s self-exclusion register.

That register, known as the Spelpaus, is supposed to stop operators from sending promotional material to vulnerable customers and letting them gamble when they have signed the register.

The regulatory body is also upset that neither Spelpaus nor other responsible gambling features are being widely promoted on operators’ websites. They want the logo to be seen clearly and ensure relevant links are active.

The letter goes on to say: “Any operator whose website has yet to institute these requirements needs to take action “immediately” or face the consequences.”

Financial penalties

Spelinspektionen warned that “there are no exceptions” to these requirements and transgressors could face financial penalties of up to 10% of a licensee’s turnover or the complete revocation of its new Swedish license.

It’s been a tough month already for operators. The Spelinspektionen has already rapped their knuckles publicly for failing to co-operate with the permit terms. On January 14, there were multiple reports in Swedish media about self-excluded players gaining access to Swedish-licensed gambling sites, while 11 sites – including major operators Betsson, Bwin, and Betsafe – were found to have sent marketing material to excluded players.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. The Spelinspektionen did issue two more licenses this week. The successful applicants were Jackpot.com operator Lottomatrix Operations Ltd. and LeoVegas’ eSports mobile betting offshoot Pixel Digital Ltd.