Swedish Regulator Expels Ten Unlicensed Gambling Operators

  • The ten operators received seize and desist orders from Spelinspektionen
  • They were behind 45 different gambling brands that were not licensed in Sweden
  • Some offered Swedish as a language, provided a local payment method, marketed to Swedes
  • Six companies were based in Curaçao, two in Malta, the remaining ones in Cyprus
  • Regulator has issued similar orders to 21 operators since December 2019
main in suit holds lock and chain with "cease and desist" text on a paper in the foreground
Sweden’s gambling regulator has issued cease and desist orders to ten unlicensed gambling operators. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Cease and desist orders issued

The Swedish Gaming Inspectorate (Spelinspektionen) took action against ten unlicensed online gambling operators that were targeting people in Sweden. The state’s gambling regulator issued cease and desist orders on June 11.

45 different gambling brands in the unlicensed Swedish market

Collectively, the ten companies were behind 45 different gambling brands operating within the unlicensed Swedish market. Some of these brands had Swedish as a supported language on the website, offered payments through the localized Kronor system, and were marketing to Swedish consumers directly and through affiliates. Six operators have their headquarters in Curaçao, a pair are based in Malta, and the other two hold offices in Cyprus. 

The gaming body published the operators’ names on its website. They are Abudantia BV, Alamaro Enterprises NV, Alpamaro NV, Gammix Limited, Mirage Corporation NV, Mountberg Limited, Rebels Gaming Limited, TGI Entertainment NV, Tutkia Limited, and Viking Technology NV.

Cracking down on unlicensed operators

Sweden’s licensed gambling market was launched in January 2019, and Spelinspektionen has been taking action against errant operators ever since. 21 operators were ordered to stop illegally targeting Swedish customers since December 2019, with the most high-profile of these being 1xBet.

Also in December, the regulator published its strategy in enforcing Sweden’s licensed gambling market structure. It established the issuing of cease and desist orders as the initial step. Fines must follow if the operators continue to target Swedish consumers after receiving an order. The police will then get involved in the matter if the breaches continue.

Spelinspektionen has the power to get court injunctions to stop payment providers from allowing transactions to be completed through these unlicensed platforms. 

Market has seen a number of fines

Sweden’s regulated gambling industry has led to great uncertainty since its launch. Many licensed operators have been hit with fines due to misinterpretations of the sector’s vague regulations. 

fines due to misinterpretations of the sector’s vague regulations

Betsson was recently fined $2.2m by Spelinspektionen for violations involving retail vouchers and bonuses. The operator is planning to appeal the penalty. BetHard was also ordered to pay SEK400,000 ($43,165) for offering betting on soccer matches where most of the players were underage.

Controversial new restrictions

In April, the country’s Social Security Minister Ardalan Shekarabi announced plans to enact strict limits on online gambling during the coronavirus pandemic. The news caused outrage among the major market players, with Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling BOS backing their protests.

The measures got official approval on June 11 and are set to come into force on July 2. There will be a weekly cap on deposits of just SEK5,000 ($539.43), and a bonus cap set at SEK100 ($10.79).

Many in the industry believe the limits imposed will drive consumers to black-market offerings. CEOs of many of Sweden’s licensed gambling operators threatened to pull out of the licensed market if the implementation of the said measures were to go ahead.

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