A document co-authored by Swedish online gambling trade association BOS and industry market intelligence firm H2 Capital has urged regulator Spelinspektionen to rethink wagering restrictions designed to counter sports manipulations.
It was submitted to Spelinspektionen as part of the regulator’s stakeholder consultation on safeguarding Swedish sports integrity and protecting Swedish sports from manipulation.
The consultation launch followed the publication of draft Spelinspektionen proposals seeking to prohibit bet-types on individual athlete performance and match events (yellow cards, penalties, violations) – proposals directly contested by BOS.
Spelinspektionen has justified the bet-type restrictions as a means of ‘comprehensively ensuring’ that no professional athlete could be influenced to manipulate a sports outcome based on individual performance.
Publishing a 28-page document detailing research and insights by H2 Capital, BOS has refuted this justification as a measure that is counterproductive to building up the strength of the Swedish gambling framework and its channelisation to licensed operators.
“Whilst these restrictions are targeting areas that appear most vulnerable to manipulation, the industry’s concern is that restricting licensed operators from offering wagers on these products will merely shift the wagering offshore where there is no integrity oversight,” said BOS as part of its document outline.
Drawing on H2 Capital analysis and insights, BOS has therefore drawn key conclusions which Spelinspektionen must address as Swedish gambling’s regulatory authority.
It has urged the regulator to undertake a ‘macro-level’ view of regulating Swedish sports wagering, in which the ‘optimal solution in preserving sports integrity’ is led by licensed operators working with specialist integrity associations to monitor potential match-fixing cases.
The ‘regulatory logic’ of bet-type restrictions on licensed operators is questioned, as Spelinspektionen would be stifling its own market binding channelization strategy.
The BOS report added: “Analysis of the impact of these regulations implies a -7.5% decline in onshore GGR and a +30% increase in offshore GGR for commercial online operators. This translates to a -5.9 percentage point decline in the channelling rate to 75% of GGR from commercial operators onshore.”
Representing regulated Swedish incumbents, BOS underlined that although athlete performance wagers remain relatively small, if restricted they could serve as a trigger to promoting unlicensed actors.
Further BOS concerns relate to the wagering restrictions creating an imbalanced legislative framework as the laws formulated will only apply to Spelinspektionen licensing system, thereby making it harder to prosecute actual bad actors in terms of manipulating sports
Should Spelinspektionen continue with its draft proposals, BOS expects the regulatory authority to seek approval and oversight of its provisions by relevant EU authorities.