Published: October 15, 2021

Swedish ministry explains call for tighter controls on offshore gaming

Sweden’s Ministry of Finance has provided an explanation of its proposal for tougher controls on offshore operators that accept bets from Swedish customers.

Sweden.- Last week, Sweden’s Ministry of Finance proposed that the country’s gambling regulator enact tougher controls on offshore gambling operators.

Spelinspektionen can currently take action against unlicensed gambling operators that are found to be actively targeting Sweden, but the ministry suggested the regulator also take action against operators that don’t block Swedish players even if they’re not actively targeting them.

Now the ministry, together with Chamber of Commerce director general Gunnar Larsson, have delivered a fuller report explaining reasons for the proposals.

Commissioned by Ardalan Shekerabi, Sweden’s minister for social protection, the report says that the change in approach would “significantly simplify” regulatory enforcement since it can be difficult to determine whether a site is targeting Swedish players or not, especially as many Swedes use sites in English and can pay in Euros.

The report says “it is necessary to shift the focus from what possible actions gaming companies have taken to attract Swedish customers to instead focus on whether the company has taken measures to prevent participation from Sweden.”

It says that when the Gambling Act was passed, the government did not consider the fact that operators could instead simply block Swedish customers.

It adds: “To determine if an online game is covered by the scope of the Gaming Act, it is sufficient to conjure up if it is possible for a player who is in Sweden to register and create an account. For the application of blocking card payments, payment service providers may block payments to anyone who does not hold a Swedish gaming licence.”

The report also proposes that Spelinspektionen conduct mystery shopper inspections to check if gambling sites are accepting Swedish players.

It also includes reporting requirements for bets suspected of being connected to match fixing. It said that information sharing on match fixing and suspicious bets had been hampered by data protection rules. As a result, there had been games with suspicious betting activity for which some operators suspended betting while others didn’t.

© Public Gaming Research Institute. All rights reserved.