Betsson Warned Over Sports Integrity, As COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

November 16, 2021
The Swedish Gambling Authority has reprimanded Betsson for breaking match-fixing rules, as COVID-linked limits on the market finally expire.


The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has reprimanded Betsson for breaking match-fixing rules, as COVID-linked limits on the market finally expire.

The SGA announced on Monday that Betsson had been given a warning for offering bets on “penalties for breaches of rules” during a single match in May of this year.

Operators are prohibited from taking wagers on events such as red and yellow cards in Sweden, partially for fear that they are especially vulnerable to match-fixing.

The SGA acknowledged that Betsson only offered the bets as part of an accumulator-type product, which the operator had tried to argue was not in violation of the rules, but the regulator said the type of bet made no difference to the breach of regulations.

Betsson said it cancelled the bets and returned stakes to players upon realising it had broken Swedish rules.

The match in question, between Malmö and Elfsborg in Sweden’s top football division, was considered to be a low match-fixing risk.

Betsson said it had improved its internal systems to help prevent future bets on foul play being permitted.

Taking these mitigating circumstances into consideration, the SGA said only a public reprimand was justified, rather than a fine.

From the start of this year it became illegal in Sweden to offer bets on lower-league football matches, after a number of sports integrity scares in recent years, including the prosecution of five people in 2020.

Online operators complain the ban is likely to further drive players to offshore bookmakers, which they say are where bets on fixed matches are being placed anyway.

Last month, the Swedish government published a report into sports integrity rules that recommended the creation of a national platform to combat match-fixing, similar to those operational in the UK and France.

Also in Sweden this week, Monday was the first day of trading since temporary measures including a 5,000 kronor weekly deposit limit and 100 kronor bonus cap expired.

After a number of extensions, restrictions introduced by government minister Ardalan Shekarabi to protect consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic finally ended on November 14.

The SGA has been given the task of assessing how effective the measures were at limiting problem gambling, as part of a broader examination of the future of the Swedish gambling sector.

It is due to publish interim findings in March 2022, with the full report not expected until October 2023.

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