$10 Million in Fines and One License Revocation: Swedish Regulator Bares its Teeth $10 Million in Fines and One License Revocation: Swedish Regulator Bares its Teeth
jencorchaiza, Pixabay

The reregulated online gambling market in Sweden has been live for barely six months, and the Spelinspektionen, the newly minted gambling body formed to oversee the market, has wasted no time flexing its muscles to enforce the regimen.

The new laws, which impose tough restrictions on advertising, promotions, and sports betting, are causing a headache for operators. Many of the world’s largest gambling operators, including The Stars Group, GVC, Betfair and Bet365, have already run afoul of the rules, and have been hit with hefty fines; in one case, it has resulted in a immediate license revocation and suspension of operations.

The new regulatory system came into force on January 1, 2019, for the first time permitting foreign companies to offer online gambling to Swedish citizens under local authorization.

It was a highly anticipated market launch, with dozens of companies applying for access. All major online poker networks launched under license when the market opened. As of March, over 100 licenses had been issued.

The law imposes certain stringent and unique rules regarding promotions and bonuses, advertising, player self-exclusion, and sports bets in an effort to protect players and the integrity of sporting contests. And almost immediately, the Spelinspektionen began issuing missives warning operators that they may be in breach of their licensing terms. In May, it started handing down tough penalties, with the threat of revoking licenses.

Operators have complained that various rules are ambiguous in their definition and difficult to implement accurately. According to one local media report, one in four licensed operators have violated the new law in some way.