Sweden’s government has submitted its long-awaited bill on measures to bolster payment blocking and further combat match-fixing.
The proposals are primarily aimed at targeting illegal operators and countering the influence of organised crime in fixing sports events.
Niklas Wykman, minister of financial markets, said the proposals, which have been discussed by the government for more than a year, represent “important steps” to addressing existing concerns, improving consumer protections, and applying pressure to “a source of income for organised crime”.
The government’s bill would create a new standard surrounding what information payment service providers will have to provide authorities in a bid to create a more effective payment-blocking system against illegal operators.
Additionally, the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) will be empowered to run test purchases and there will be more opportunities for betting companies and sports associations to process personal data to counter match-fixing.
Amendments to gambling laws would take effect on July 1, 2023.
Maria Wennerberg Sedigh, CEO of the National Gaming Industry Association (SPER), whose members include state-owned Svenska Spel, as well as ATG and Paf, said her organisation sees the measures proposed by the government as positive.
“Together with the recent explicit ban on promotion in the Gambling Act, the changes will help prevent unlicensed gambling,” Sedigh said.
SPER also supports the proposed measures to combat match-fixing.
In 2019, SPER, online trade group BOS and the National Sports Confederation submitted a letter to the Ministry of Finance demanding the creation or empowering of an authority to oversee efforts to combat match-fixing. The letter also pointed to the need to be able to share this information between the actors involved.
BOS director general Gustaf Hoffstedt similarly welcomed the bill.
“The possibility of sharing information with sports associations in order to make match-fixing more difficult is something we have been asking for for a long time. Hopefully, the bill can further complicate and poison working conditions for those who set out to manipulate sporting events in order to expose betting companies to fraud,” Hoffstedt said.
At the time of writing, the SGA said it is still assessing the final bill before making any comment on it. However, a spokesperson for the regulator did say it sees the proposals as "essentially positive".