Betsson to appeal SEK 20m Spelinspektionen penalty

Online betting and gaming organisation Betsson Group has confirmed it will appeal a warning and penalty fee of SEK 20m (£1.69m) issued by the Spelinspektionen for the sale of games through an unregistered agent and an unauthorised bonus offer.

With both cases deemed as non-compliant with the Swedish gambling legislation, Betsson has emphasised that “the warning, the sanction and the hefty sanction fee come as a surprise”

The group commented in a media release: “The decision will be appealed on both accounts since Betsson AB does not agree with the view that Betsson Nordic Ltd has not complied with the Swedish Gambling Act. Betsson AB is of the view that the vouchers have been offered in line with the applicable law and that Betsson Nordic Ltd has not offered any commercial incentives or benefits connected to the Betsson Mastercard”.

Regarding the size of the penalty fee, the regulator communicated that “there have been several serious violations of, among other things, gaming liability regulations, and that the violations have been going on for a relatively long time, between six and twelve months”.

The company was found to have been permitting punters to fund accounts via retail vouchers, with the Spelinspektionen also ruling that a Betsson-branded Mastercard was offering players illegal bonuses.

The online operator had launched the aforementioned vouchers in March 2019 through a partnership with convenience store chains Pressbyrån and 7-Eleven. The regulator judged that both retailers were not registered, ruling that the firm had offered games through ‘unregistered agents’. 

Responding to the ruling, Betsson argued that the vouchers were launched through a deal with convenience card, which specialises in gift and prepaid cards, a common function for highstreet retailers. 

Addressing the use of a Betsson Mastercard, the Spelinspektionen said: “Betsson Nordic Ltd has, via the card Betsson Mastercard, offered benefits that appear to be available to its players during the period March 2019 to March 2020. 

“The Spelinspektionen considers that the benefits constitute a discount or financial incentive that has a direct link to the game in the meaning of the gaming team. The benefits associated with the card have not been limited to the first occasion when a player plays on any of the licensee’s games. 

“Against this background, the Spelinspektionen considers that Betsson Mastercard has constituted an unauthorised bonus in violation of Chapter 14. Section 9 of the Gaming Act.”

Furthemore, the regulator has also revealed that a ruling by by the Administrative Court in Linköping to Bethard Group must be combined with a penalty fee of SEK 400,000.

Revealing further details, the authority stated: “Bethard Group has offered betting on two U19 football matches, the majority of which were under 18 years of age. On June 26, 2019, the Spelinspektionen decided to issue a warning to Bethard Group Limited with a penalty fee of SEK 2,500,000.

“Bethard Group Limited appealed the decision to the Administrative Court, which in April this year overturned the Spelinspektionen’s decision and ordered that Bethard be notified instead. At the same time, the Administrative Court handed over to the Spelinspektionen to consider whether the complaint would be combined with a penalty fee.

“In view of the purpose of the legislation and what is stated in the judgement of the Administrative Court, the Spelinspektionen assesses that the remark must be combined with a penalty fee of SEK 400,000.”

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