Spelinspektionen Proposes Banning Bets on Yellow Cards

  • Wants operators to be prohibited from offering odds on soccer players getting booked
  • Aim of the amendment is to to prevent match-fixing scandals from unfolding
  • A consultation on the matter is currently taking place, decision expected after February 14
referee with yellow card and whistle
Spelinspektionen has proposed an amendment to the country’s gaming rules that could ban betting markets based on individual performance. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Amendment put forward

Spelinspektionen, Sweden’s gambling regulator, has published an amendment that proposes prohibiting sports betting operators from offering odds on rule violations and individual performance.

The country’s gaming rules will be amended if this proposal is approved. It would mean that sports betting operators would no longer be able to offer betting markets on players receiving a yellow card in a soccer match. The same rules would apply for other sports, such as tennis, with bettors unable to wager on a player making a double fault during a game.

no longer be able to offer betting markets on players receiving a yellow card in a soccer match

A consultation has been launched to look into this proposal. The goal of the change would be to improve systems for anti-match fixing.

By not allowing betting markets for these types of rule violations, players would have less of an incentive to commit these violations in order to profit through betting. 

Over the years, many individual athletes from a wide range of sports have been influenced by match-fixers to commit one of these types of violations in a game. Oftentimes, these violations do not really affect the end result of an event, but it still allows those involved to profit. 

Other betting rules could change

Three betting rules changes have been identified as part of this proposal. The Swedish gambling regulator has called for a to stop to betting on individual athletes, as well as teams losing a match or a tournament.

Spelinspektionen has also proposed a ban on betting on the individual performance of athletes who are not yet 18 years old. The regulator believes that these changes would be the first step in curbing the manipulation of sporting results by using regulation.

The regulator went on to say that by working together with the Match Fixing Council, gaming companies, and sporting governing bodies, betting manipulation can be better detected and match-fixing counteracted. 

Decision due after consultation period

Originally, the regulator had been planning more drastic restrictions. These previous proposals suggested for bets to only be allowed on certain events and competitions.

The leagues and events most at risk of match-fixing would not be able to have any betting markets. However, there were fears that such a move would force bettors away from legal sportsbooks to unlicensed options. 

The consultation period on these new proposals will last until February 14. All feedback will then be taken into account by the regulator. A final decision on any changes will then be announced.

The regulator has been clear that it is willing to introduce more restrictions in the future if needed. It also said it wouldn’t hesitate in doing so. 

Skeptical response from the IBIA

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) has been skeptical about these new proposals. The IBIA works with dozens of leading sports betting operators globally, including a number in Sweden. It doesn’t see these new proposals as being justified or effective. 

IBIA Chief Executive Khalid Ali said: “Corrupters often seek to place bets outside of the territory where the event is corrupted, notably on the unregulated market in Asia, making Swedish market restrictions ineffective.” 

Ali believes the only result of these new proposals would be to push bettors away from regulated sportsbooks.

A recent match-fixing report

Match fixing is a serious problem in modern day sports, particularly in soccer. The Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS) recently released a report on the match fixing alerts it issued in 2019.

787 alerts for potential match-fixing events involving betting

In total, there were 787 alerts for potential match-fixing events involving betting. Of this total, 570 alerts were in Europe, with soccer accounting for 450 of them. 

In total, there were alerts regarding 157 soccer matches in 2019. Most of these alerts were sent to UEFA or FIFA. These alerts underwent further analysis by GLMS. Out of the 787 alerts, 50 of them were code red. These are the most serious cases, indicating a high probability of match manipulation.