After several months, Sweden’s Administrative Court has ruled in the case of 11 appeals filed by The Stars Group, Bet365, GVC and other established sportsbooks and gaming brands, contesting Spelinspektionen’s fines related to betting on athletes under the age of 18.
Administrative Court Revisits 11 Fines Issued by Spelinspektionen
A Swedish court has examined 11 appeals issued by various respected gaming companies in the country.
The Stars Group, Bet365, GVC and a number of other companies were responding to penalties issued against them at the behest of the Swedish Gambling Authority, Spelinspektionen, for reportedly failing to meet betting standards and offering sports bets on individuals under the age of 18.
In their appeals, the companies challenged the penalties levelled against them by the regulator and sought from Sweden’s Administrative Court in Linköping to come up with a ruling in the case.
The result is that five appeals have been rejected and another five have been reduced, with one cancelled completely, the court announced in a ruling published on its official website on April 1.
Bethard, which suffered a SEK 2.5 million penalty in 2019, won the appeal with the Administrative Court leading to expunging the fine. The court did caution Bethard, however, explaining that while the offense Spelinspektionen had discovered wasn’t serious, it was still a problem that would need to be addressed.
To this end, Spelinspektionen will now have to issue a new penalty based on the court’s ruling, the official statement read.
The Administrative Court Rejects Five Appeals
While Bethard’s appeal has been conditionally won, not all brands were as fortunate. In the case of Bet365, which runs its Swedish activities under the Hillside Sports brand, the court decided that Spelinspektionen has been correct in its surmise. As a result, Bet365 will have to meet the SEK 10 million penalty.
The court cited issues with the transparency and fairness of the offer as the main concern. Betfair, another respected and popular brand operated by Flutter Entertainment, will also have to meet a SEK 5.5 million penalty fine in full, the court explained.
The Stars Group and GVC Holdings will also have to meet penalties worth SEK 10 million and SEK 5.5. million respectively.
Operators Fines Have Been Reduced
Examining the appeals on per-case basis, the Administrative Court has found grounds to amend some of the penalties, recommending a smaller amount. Polar Limited and its Coolbet brand will now have to pay SEK 650,000 from previously SEK 700,000.
In arguing against the penalty, Polar explained that the regulator had considered non-playing team members, which Spelinspektionen admitted was an oversight on its part, and agreed to reduce the fine.
Similarly, Casinostugan received a lower penalty worth SEK 3 million from previously SEK 3.5 million. Casinostugan had not been the originator of the error, but rather a third-party partner which had inadvertently opened bets on U-18 athletes.
GiG received the same reduction after proving that the error had been occasioned by a momentary programming hiccup. In 2019, GiG shut down its offer in Sweden, as the company wasn’t satisfied with the results. GiG ran two brands in the country.
Snabbare Ltd. received the heftiest penalty out of all four appeals, but also the biggest reduction. The Cherry Group brand received a reduction in the penalty to SEK 8 million from SEK 9.5 million.
Another Cherry brand, ComeOn, also received a penalty reduction down to SEK 6 million from previously SEK 6.5 million. Last, but not least, Hajper received a reduction of its penalty down to SEK 4 million from SEK 4.5 million in Spelinspektionen’s original penalty.
In this context, the global sports industry has shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic which is biting heavily in the bottom line of sportsbooks.