The Swedish Gambling Authority (Spelinspektionen) has hit four more online gambling companies with fines for breaching their rules.
The platforms in question were ComeOn Sweden Ltd (operator of comeon.se and comeon.com), Hajper Ltd (operator of hajper.com), Faster Ltd (operator of faster.com) and Legolas Invest Ltd (operator of legolas.bet).
These breaches relate to betting markets for events in which underage athletes were participating. This is against the gambling rules in Sweden.
betting markets for events in which underage athletes were participating
As per local laws, operators in the country cannot accept bets on events that feature children. The Swedish Gambling Authority found sufficient proof that these operators had offered betting markets for events involving athletes who were not yet 18 years old.
In addition to receiving a fine, each operator was given an official warning. This means that penalties will be even heavier for any future violations.
These latest fines come after eight other operators were fined for similar offenses in July. Among those hit with fines were major global gambling platforms such as Flutter Entertainment (operator of Paddy Power and Betfair), the Stars Group and bet365.
Size of the fines
The Swedish Gambling Authority has confirmed that ComeOn was hit with a SEK6m ($620,000) fine. ComeOn is part of Cherry AB, a gambling group originating in Sweden. They have a strong presence in Scandinavia. It was in July that they got the green light to open an online casino and sportsbooks in nearby Denmark.
There have been fines for other offenses since the Swedish authorities opened up the gambling sector at the start of 2019. These were in relation to violations of rules regarding self-exclusion policies and bonus offers. This even led to one operator being stripped of their license in June.
Global Gaming was the operator of the Ninja Casino platform and the authorities found serious failings in the company’s anti-money laundering and know your customer (KYC) requirements. The company did appeal the decision to revoke the license, but they cannot operate until the appeal process is complete.
This is despite Global Gaming making numerous attempts via the legal system to get the ban lifted while the appeal process takes place.
Swedish gambling market
There has been a massive change in the Swedish gambling market as of late, and it is causing a lot of issues for operators.
Traditionally, there was a very restrictive gambling scene in the country. There was a state monopoly in place for many years. However, with the advent of online gambling, offshore platforms began to target Swedish residents. There was not too much the authorities could do to stop this.
with the advent of online gambling, offshore platforms began to target Swedish residents
The state monopoly was experiencing negative growth. Therefore, the government decided to go ahead and open up the gambling sector to offshore companies.
The decision to open the market was only made in June 2018. Licenses were handed out in time for January 1, 2019 when the first online platforms opened for business. The quick turnaround time has led to some teething problems.
Lack of clarity
A lot of companies are complaining after receiving fines that there is not enough clarity in the current regulatory framework. This has led to companies supposedly misinterpreting the rules and subsequently getting hit with fines.
The Gaming Innovation Group (GiG) was one of the companies to get a fine in July for accepting bets on events involving underage athletes. They have two brands in operation in the Swedish market – Rizk and Guts.
After being fined SEK3.5m ($364,000), GiG decided to suspend their operations until the gambling authority clarifies their new rules and regulations.
The CEO of GiG, Robin Reed spoke about how the company is in an impossible position due to the lack of clarity in the Swedish gambling regulation.”
This led to the gambling authority to call a meeting for September 17 in which they will clarify any potential gray areas.