Underage Betting Investigation Against Bet365 and Betsson Dropped

  • Spelinspektionen had been looking at whether operators allowed bets on minors
  • Investigation centered on Betsson, Bet365, Spooniker, and AB Tray Och Galopp
  • Government will now work with sports agencies to educate individual players
  • Media outlets' fines for failing to pull ads of unauthorized operators also discarded
man betting on soccer on laptop
The Swedish Gambling Authority has announced it is dropping its investigation against four operators for allowing sports bets on minors. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Swedish Gambling Authority drops investigation

Sweden’s regulatory body, the Spelinspektionen, announced earlier this week that it was dropping an investigation into four of its license holders for allowing bets on sports matches involving players under the age of 18.

In April, the regulator launched its investigation against operators Betsson, Bet365, Spooniker (a Kindred Group subsidiary), and local racing pro AB Tray Och Galopp (ATG). It has since concluded that no rules had been violated in regard to accepting wagers that featured underage athletes in matches.

Confusion from operators

The investigation was prompted after the Spelinspektionen issued a warning in April over in-play bets featuring athletes who were minors. The eight license holders that were fined a total of SEK41.2 million ($4.4 million) included Hillside Sports, which Bet365 is a trading name of.

players were “largely over 18 years”

According to current terms, any bets on individuals under the age of 18 are in breach of license. On closer inspection, the Swedish regulatory body has now insisted that players were “largely over 18 years”, and will be dropping the investigation against the four companies as a result.

In July, Hillside Sports was ordered to pay SEK10m (US$1.1m) as a penalty for the same offense. This confusion led Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) to close its Swedish sportsbook in July after receiving a fine.

Meetings with sports associations

Earlier this week, representatives from the Swedish government met with soccer and hockey associations to further probe what types of in-play betting need to be prohibited. The aim is to reduce any issues of match- or spot-fixing by putting emphasis on educating individual athletes instead.

Patrik Hofbauer, CEO of the state-run Svenska Spel gambling business, encouraged gambling operators to “work together against cheating and crime.”

Appeal over media fines

An appeal over fines for media institutions that continued to advertise unauthorized gambling operators has been upheld, after the recent licensing changes in Sweden meant that the fines originally imposed had lost relevance.

Back in May 2018, the Spelinspektionen issued fines of SEK100,000 ($103,200) on media outlets that failed to adhere to a warning which gave 39 companies just 24 hours to pull the ads.

The Court of Appeal in Jönköping has ruled that, since the fines were issued under the old Swedish gambling regulatory system, they should be disregarded.