Courts Clarify Underage Sports Rules In Sweden

October 5, 2022
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The Swedish Gambling Authority has said there is now regulatory “clarity” around sanctions for offering bets on underage athletes.

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The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) has said there is now regulatory “clarity” around sanctions for offering bets on underage athletes.

Brands including the likes of bet365, Betfair and Bwin have received Swedish fines in the past few years for taking bets on matches where the majority of participants were minors.

In a number of instances, these enforcement actions were appealed multiple times, but after the Supreme Administrative Court recently declined to take a number of the cases, the regulator says the highest available rulings from the Court of Appeal now stand.

That means the definition of a betting “event” applies to individual matches and only the participants registered on the team sheets need to be taken into account when working out whether an event is legal to take bets on.

The court also told the regulator it should consider the number of times a violation took place and the percentage of players that were underage when gauging its enforcement action, the SGA said.

One recent enforcement case has been granted permission to be heard before the Supreme Administrative Court, the SGA said, but that relates to a company that was not correctly connected to Sweden’s self-exclusion service, Spelpaus.

Separately, the SGA on Tuesday (October 4) released a survey of Swedish gamblers, which found that almost a third of Swedish adults gambled online at least once a month. Around 15 percent of those surveyed say they play every week.

Online lottery products were the most popular, while betting on “trotting” or harness racing was the second most popular pastime.

Of those who said they play at least once a quarter, around 8 percent said they deliberately use gambling websites not licensed in Sweden. Another 2 percent said they have done so unintentionally, while 15 percent were not sure whether or not they were gambling with licensed operators.

However, of that 8 percent, when asked to name offshore sites they use, several listed companies that do in fact have a licence in Sweden, the regulator said.

Word of mouth was cited as the most common way of learning about unlicensed operators, closely followed by internet searches and then advertising.

Of those surveyed, 17 percent said they felt they had experienced problems with their gambling in the past year.

The regulator also said on Tuesday that it has begun preparing paperwork for gambling suppliers to apply for licences. The need for suppliers to obtain a licence in Sweden has not yet been approved by parliament, but the SGA said it is proceeding on the basis that its recommendation will be backed by politicians and take effect from March 1 next year.

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