Sweden Discusses Its Proposed Action Against Unlicensed Gambling

Last week, the Swedish Ministry of Finance and Chamber of Commerce announced it is considering increasing the regulation of offshore operators who operate in the country. The Ministry’s director-general Gunnar Larsson has explained more about the decision.

Reducing Unlicensed Gambling in the Country

Larsson’s report was commissioned by Ardalan Shekerabi, the Minister for Social Protection. Shekerabi is interested in combating match-fixing, unlicensed gambling, and gambling-related fraud.

Currently, Sweden’s gaming regulator, the Spelinspektionen, regulates all gambling content targeting people in the country. The Spelinspektionen is authorized to take action against any operators who offer their betting offerings to Swedish citizens without a license. Under the proposed new rules, the regulator will be able to tackle any online gambling operators whose offerings are available in the country, regardless of if their content targets Swedes or not.

In the original report, the Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Finance explained that it is important to focus not on which operators offer betting to Swedes but rather on which unlicensed ones do not prevent Swedes from accessing their content. The Ministry pointed out that it is often difficult to say if a site is targeting people in Sweden or not, especially considering that many people nowadays speak English fluently and use websites in the language.

The Proposed Measures Will Tackle Registrations and Payment Methods

To avoid confusion, the new regulations will check if a Sweden-based player is able to register an account on an unlicensed platform. Payment providers should also disallow unlicensed operators to take bets from Swedish citizens.

Under new regulations, licensed betting operators may be required to report any suspicious betting that implies the possibility of match-fixing, especially when high-level professionals are concerned. Until now, reports have been optional, with some operators reporting and some forgoing to. Operators’ help may prove to be invaluable as Sweden is yet to have a body that is full-time occupied with the prevention of match-fixing frauds.

The report mentioned that even with the regulations changed the Spelinspektionen will obviously be unable to crack down on every single instance of unlicensed operators whose offerings are available in Sweden. Additionally, it is likely that the regulator will not be able to force payment operators to block every single unlicensed site. Despite those setbacks, the new approach will provide the regulator with more power to act when the situation requires it to.

Regulating unlicensed gambling has been one of the hot topics in the European gambling sector. On October 1, the Netherlands launched its own regulated gambling and tightened rules against unlicensed operators. A similar thing happened in Ukraine, where the KRAIL asked foreign operators without a license to cease their operations. In September, Sweden’s neighbor Norway also took action to exercise more control on offshore gambling websites.

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