Swedish Gaming Regulator Comes up with New Match-Fixing Regulations

Spelinspektionen, the Swedish Gaming Authority, submitted to the country’s National Board of Trade new proposed regulations on match fixing, showing its resolve to deal with one of the biggest threats to sport nowadays. The proposed regulations will be presented to the European Commission for an assessment, taking up to three months for the EC to come up with an opinion.

Top 4 Football Divisions Only

The regulator in Sweden suggests betting on football to be limited to the top 4 divisions in the country, even games from the Swedish Cup that feature a team from the lower divisions will not be available to bet. Regarding wagering on games involving foreign football clubs, Spelinspektionen insists only the games that feature teams from the top 4 tiers of each country be permitted for betting.

“…There are, as far as can be judged, great risks in offering bets on games at low divisions in football. Monitoring from both sports federations and the media is lower and the athletes do not make money and are thus more vulnerable…”

Spelinspektionen

Despite initially proposing to place training matches and friendlies on the ban list betting-wise, the Swedish regulator opted to leave this out of the submitted for assessment regulations, allowing wagering on international friendlies. Bets can only be accepted on matches from Under-21 level upwards, though.

No Yellow/Red Card Bets

Unlike wagering on friendlies, Spelinspektionen did not opt out regarding betting on violation of rules such as yellow cards, despite their proposal for that restriction spurring controversy in the industry.

In January, BOS, the trade association for online gaming in Sweden, slammed the regulator for the proposed betting ban on certain markets. BOS Secretary Gustaf Hoffstedt claimed that, instead of preventing games from match-fixing, the proposal clears the way for it, as it deprives operators from offering complete market portfolios, pushing people towards offshore operations.

While BOS was critical regarding banning the bets on violations such as yellow and red cards, Svenska Spel, one of the largest gaming and sports betting companies in Sweden, came up with the conclusion the proposed measure lacks evidence for its effectiveness, asking for even sharper actions to be implemented to oust match-fixing.

Regarding criticism that certain restrictions would push bettors towards the offshore market, Spelinspektionen said it was well aware of that, stating that illegal market was always only one click away. These sites have less incentive to fight match-fixing and if they attract more players they will threaten the integrity of the game, the regulator added.

Measures Easy to Implement

The regulatory body in the country believes that the proposed set of restrictions would need a one-off action from operators to implement, and would not pose difficulties operations-wise. Regarding players though, Spelinspektionen acknowledged they would need to be notified of the changes.

The new regulations submitted for assessment could not come into effect earlier than the end of 2020 due to the EC procedure, Spelinspektionen added, but the regulator stated it had no concerns regarding violations of EU laws.

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