Betsson Falls Foul of Swedish Gambling Regulator for Match Betting Failures

  • Operators are not able to offer betting markets that relate to rule violations
  • Betsson believed the wagers were acceptable as they were combined with legal markets
  • The operator had to refund the turnover from the activity and take remedial action
  • The ban on wagering on rule violations came into place in January this year
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Sweden’s gambling regulator the Spelinspektionen has warned Betsson for accepting wagers on rule violations during a Swedish soccer game. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Difference of interpretation

The Swedish gambling regulator has warned operator Betsson for breaking match betting rules.

Spelinspektionen, otherwise known as the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA), discovered that Betsson accepted wagers relating to penalties for the soccer league game between IF Elfsborg and Malmö FF on May 20, 2021. As per Swedish betting laws, operators are not able to accept wagers for markets that relate to rule violations, such as penalties and red cards.

this rule works to combat match-fixing and game manipulation

The SGA believes that this rule works to combat match-fixing and game manipulation. Betsson stated that no such manipulation took place. It has argued that it did not violate the SGA rule because the offending markets were a part of combination bets alongside legal markets. The operator has asserted that combination bets do not easily lend themselves to match-fixing.

Spelinspektionen ultimately rejected this excuse. The regulator stated: “Betsson Nordic Ltd has offered betting on penalties for violating the rules of a football match, which is not permitted in connection with a match, competition or tournament.”

Making appropriate changes

In its verdict released on Monday, the SGA also clarified that a combination bet is no different from a single bet when it comes to the rules violation wagering ban. As a result, Betsson had to refund bettors the SEK3,000 ($342) worth of turnover that came from the 30 total bets placed on these markets.

Betsson said that it has since cut ties with the third-party provider that offered these bets and has ensured that its procedures will not allow such an incident to take place again in the future.

Spelinspektionen did not take any additional action

Due to the remedial actions and the low turnover levels from these wagers, Spelinspektionen did not take any additional action against Betsson. It deemed a remark on the matter sufficient intervention.

A strict environment for operators

Sweden’s gambling sector is tightly regulated by the SGA. The nation’s laws banning betting on rule violations came into place in January. The authorities also only removed strict temporary COVID-19 gambling restrictions on November 14. These measures included the implementation of a SEK5,000 ($570) deposit cap on weekly online casino deposits.

The limits received a lot of criticism from key industry stakeholders. Through the rules, the government intended to protect Swedish citizens from spending too much on gambling platforms during the pandemic. However, operators argued that they only drove people to black-market platforms.

Betsson has come to the attention of the SGA in the past. The gambling operator received a SEK20m ($2.3m) fine in 2020 for selling vouchers at 7-Eleven and Pressbyrån stores. Spelinspektionen claimed that this counted as providing games through unregistered parties. However, an appeals court in June 2021 dismissed this fine, stating that the vouchers did not count as selling gambling products. Spelinspektionen decided not to appeal this decision.