Spelinspektionen Ordered Bans for 23 Illegal Gambling Websites

Sweden’s national gambling regulator continues to display its determination to protect the legal market from black operations by forcing IP bans on 23 Curacao-based operators.

Disclosure and Ban

Spelinspektionen informed the institutions it collaborates with that 23 businesses and their websites operating out of Curacao illegally target Swedish residents, looking to channel them into their gambling operations and ordered ISP providers to block access to their websites.

The public disclosure of offshore operations is part of the new approach Spelinspektionen adopted to protect the regulated marketplace in the country from companies that are not authorized to offer gambling products and services yet continue to encroach on Swedish gamblers.

Granted new powers to launch direct investigations and impose sanctions against illegal businesses or those that fail to comply with regulations since last October, Spelinspektionen is directly collaborating with the Swedish Consumer Agency, Finansinspektionen and the country’s tax agency to give extra weight to Spelinspektionen’s enforcement actions and financial penalties.

Besides the IP bans on the websites of these 23 Curacao-based illegal gambling businesses, Spelinspektionen ordered their payment providers to impose payment injunctions, determined to display the power and authority needed to protect the regulated online gambling marketplace, a regulatory function that will be key to the amendments of the Gambling Law set to be implemented during stage 2.

Enforcement and Evaluation

To date, Spelinspektionen showed to the industry it would be using the whole array of enforcement actions at its disposal, ranging from issuing a remark to Betsson for a violation of a new rule to imposing hefty sanctions to LeoVegas and ATG for violations of the Money Laundering Act and the Gambling Act.

Online casino restrictions Spelinspektionen ordered incumbents to protect the public from excessive gambling during the period of lockdowns were lifted this month and the government tasked the gambling authority to come up with an assessment of the effectiveness of the measures.

Spelinspektionen is expected to submit the first part of its report to the minister of social affairs Ardalan Shekarabi, evaluating how the weekly deposit limit of SEK5,000 ($600) and cap on operators’ deposit bonus to SEK100 ($12) affected the gambling marketplace, no later than March 15, 2022. The second part of the assessment, including proposals for additional measures to strengthen consumer protection and counteract public health problems, the gambling authority should submit by the end of October 2022.

Spelinspektionen reacted generally positively to the proposal of the finance ministry to re-classify gambling marketing and advertising to the ‘special moderation’ category, aligning gambling with alcohol, stating that the measure may boost player protection.

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