SBC News ATG charged SEK 2m by Swedish regulator for self-exclusion outage

ATG charged SEK 2m by Swedish regulator for self-exclusion outage

The Swedish Gambling Inspectorate, Spelinspektionen, has charged horse racing betting provider AB Trav och Galopp (ATG) SEK 2m (€187,000) due to a failure with its self-exclusion function.

Licensed to provide commercial betting and gaming services under the provisions of licence covering 2019 to 2023, ATG is one of the most well-established operators in Sweden, having held a monopoly on the market for many years.

The company notified the Inspectorate that it had encountered a bug on its webpage between 13-28 January 2022 which prevented bettors logged in with a mobile bank ID from accessing the self-exclusion function.

ATG discovered the bug on 27 January and fixed it the following day, and estimates that ‘around 100 users may have had problems’ with self-excluding during the two week period. 

The bug was not wide reaching, as users who logged in ‘using bank ID on file or their usernames’ were able to access the self-exclusion function, and self-bans could also be acquired via the firm’s customer service line, which was contacted by three people.

However, in its assessment of the incident, the Spelinspektionen noted that the outage could not be dismissed as ‘trivial’, and that technical errors are not a substantial excuse for a temporary absence of self-exclusion services, a Swedish licencing requirement.

“That users must reach and be able to shut themselves off from games via self-exclusion is a central part of a licensee’s gaming responsibility,” the Inspectorate explained. 

“In the preparatory work for the Gambling Act, it appears that self-exclusion is an important gambling responsibility measure. Self-exclusion is a tool for people who feel they need a break from gaming but find it difficult to control this on their own. 

“This applies to both suspension by the licence holder and Game Pause. The fact that players who logged in with a mobile bank ID were unable to reach the self-exclusion function when using ATG’s platforms and thus exclude themselves from play for a certain period of time or indefinitely, is a violation of the licensee’s gaming responsibility.”

Under current Swedish gambling compliance laws, a financial penalty must be a minimum of SEK 5,000 (€467) and a maximum of 10% of an operator’s total revenue 

The regulator set the fee at SEK 2m due to ATG recording revenue of SEK 25m (€2.3m) during the 2021, although the firm’s revenue has fallen slightly in 2022 according to its latest trading update.

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