The Board of Review of the Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority (MRPT) has ruled that Svenska Spel lottery and keno draws broadcast on TV4 Sweden should be recognised as advertising.
MRPT judges were ordered to review Svenska Spel’s programming of lottery draws following a complaint submitted by Branschföreningen för Onlinespel (BOS) – Sweden’s trade association for online gambling.
BOS had questioned why “Svenska Spel’s Keno and Lotto draws on the TV channel do not take place during an advertising block but are allowed to be broadcast as a regular editorial TV program”.
As such, the trade association cited that Svenska Spel draws had been “clearly exempt” from the advertising rules of Sweden’s TV-&-Radio Act, which must be followed by all licensed operators.
Svenska Spel stood by its programming, stating that it had “covered all costs related to production”, in which TV-4 are rewarded compensation as part of a sponsorship package to televise it’s lottery and keno draws.
Following a review, MRPT rejected Svenska Spel’s response to BOS complaint as the authority deemed that TV4 lottery draws showcased ‘no clear distinction to audiences’ that the broadcasts were advertising/marketing.
MRPT responded, “According to the Radio and Television Act, there must be a special signature that clearly distinguishes the advertisements from the other content before and after each advertisement.”
“Since there was no such signature that clearly distinguishes this advertisement from the other broadcast content, a violation the Radio and Television Act has occurred”.
MRPT serves as the media monitor and standards inspectorate, reporting to Kulturdepartementet, Sweden’s Ministry of Culture. Concluding its review, MRPT judges recommended for “TV4 to pay a special fee for the violation”, a decision that must be validated by a Swedish Administrative court.
BOS welcomed the decision stating that yet again, Svenska Spel had abused its state-mandated privileges to infringe on Swedish laws, which consequently sees TV4 liable to pay a fine.
“This a landslide victory for consumer protection when it comes to gambling and gambling advertisement in Sweden,” said BOS President Gustaf Hoffstedt, “we are pleased that The Swedish Press and Broadcasting Authority come to the same conclusion.”
“Svenska Spel, with the scheme of claiming that the Keno and Lotto draws did not constitute gambling advertising, was able to broadcast these outside of regular advertising time and thus competed on unequal terms for its monopoly products compared to its competitors, who lacked this opportunity.”
BOS maintains pressure on the Riksdag to pledge a review of Svenska Spel’s position and privileges within Swedish gambling. The trade association has called for Sweden’s Conservative coalition government to privatise Svenska Spel by splitting and selling the firm’s online gambling and sports betting units.
During the close of 2022, the Riksdag approved a series of market reforms to amend the Gambling Act of 2018. New laws were approved to apply new customer protections on ‘high-risk games’ and to approve licensing criteria for B2B software suppliers. However, no recommendations were made to review Svenska Spel’s position as Sweden’s state-owned gambling firm.