Swedish Stakeholders Concerned Over Black Market Plan

January 17, 2022
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The two Swedish gambling trade groups support the proposals of the Ministry of Finance’s to combat match-fixing and unlicensed gambling, but both are concerned the strategy will not achieve its aims.

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The two Swedish gambling trade groups support the proposals of the Ministry of Finance’s to combat match-fixing and unlicensed gambling, but both are concerned the strategy will not achieve its aims.

The Swedish Gambling Association (SPER) said it largely backs the Ministry of Finance's plan, saying it will “significantly simplify” the scope of the Gaming Act when it comes to determining whether an operation is meeting licensing requirements or not.

Currently, only unlicensed operators actively targeting Swedish consumers, such as if a website's content is written in Swedish, are considered illegal.

The Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA) will now examine whether online games are aimed at Sweden by identifying a host of “relevant factors”. These factors are “not exhaustive and an assessment will be made in each individual case”.

The SPER also supports the assessment not to raise the ceiling for the penalty fee violating the Money Laundering Act.

Ultimately, however, SPER CEO Jenny Nilzon wants the government to shift its focus to unlicensed operators in order for its proposals to have their desired effect.

“SPER further considers that it is crucial SGA is allocated sufficiently with resources for this purpose. It is very doubtful whether the increase in resources in the proposal is sufficient for its aims,” Nilzon concluded in the SPER consultation response.

Members of SPER include ATG, Bethard, Betsson, Comeon, Folkspel, Kombispel, Miljonlotteriet, Svebico, Svenska Postkodlotteriet, state-run Svenska Spel and the Paf Group.

The Swedish Trade Association for Online Gambling's (BOS) response to the consultation was positive, but also argues it will not fully achieve its aims.

“Sweden will never be able to bring back the market shares that have been lost to the illegal gaming market unless something is also done about the conditions for the law-abiding licensed gaming companies. These companies must be given better opportunities to attract gaming customers to the legal gaming market,” said secretary general Gustaf Hoffstedt.

Additionally, Finansinspektionen (FI), a government agency with the task of monitoring the financial market, has warned it does not hold the legal basis to request email addresses from foreign payment service providers (PSPs).

Under the proposals, the FI should consider obtaining email addresses from approximately 2,900 PSPs to help with the SGA's plans to alert them when to block payments to illegal operators and accounts.

The FI highlights in its consultation response it does not find the proposal “appropriate”, as one-third of its 2,900 registered PSPs are cross-border companies under the supervision of other jurisdictions.

The FI warns it would require “extensive work” to form a complete and updated register needed to inform PSPs which payments they must block.

“Alternative methods should be considered for how payment service providers are to be notified by the SGA of which accounts are used for illegal gambling and the card payments involved in placing stakes and receiving payouts,” FI director general Erik Thedéen and senior risk expert Martin Königsson wrote in their consultation response.

The FI noted that the Norwegian Gambling Authority publishes a list of names and account numbers of blocked gambling companies, as it does not deem this information to be of a sensitive nature.

Beyond the payment blocking issue highlighted by the FI, the authority said it “mainly” supports the proposal.

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