Betsson falls foul of Spelinspektionen with SEK20m penalty

Spelinspektionen has issued a warning and SEK20m (€2m) penalty fee to Betsson Nordic for the sale of games through an unregistered agent and the use of an unauthorised bonus offer.

Betsson was found to be allowing customers to fund their accounts through retail vouchers, while the regulator also ruled that a Betsson-branded Mastercard was offering players illegal bonuses.

The online operator had launched the vouchers and Mastercard in March 2019. Through a partnership with convenience store chains Pressbyrån and 7-Eleven, allowing players to directly fund their online accounts. 

Spelinspektionen judged that both retailers were not registered with the regulator, ruling that Betsson had offered games through ‘unregistered agents’. 

Responding to the ruling, Betsson argued that the vouchers were launched through a deal with convenience card, which specialises in gift and prepaid cards, a common function for highstreet retailers. 

Addressing the use of a Betsson Mastercard, Spelinspektionen said: “Betsson Nordic Ltd has, via the card Betsson Mastercard, offered benefits that appear to be available to its players during the period March 2019 to March 2020. 

“The Gaming Inspectorate considers that the benefits constitute a discount or financial incentive that has a direct link to the game in the meaning of the gaming team. The benefits associated with the card have not been limited to the first occasion when a player plays on any of the licensee’s games. 

“Against this background, the Gaming Inspectorate considers that Betsson Mastercard has constituted an unauthorized bonus in violation of Chapter 14. Section 9 of the Gaming Act.”

Betsson emphasised that the Mastercard was developed to enhance the payment process for players, and had received the approval from Sweden’s financial regulator Finansinspektionen.

The card was not intended to provide bonus offers for players, with Betsson reiterating that it had previously prevented the card from being used for some promotions due to igaming laws on bonus offers and player incentives

Sweden’s re-regulated igaming marketplace only allows for an operator to offer a bonus incentive on customer sign-up, limited to SEK100. 

Spelinspektionen concluded: “The Gaming Inspectorate finds that there have been several serious violations of, among other things, gaming liability regulations, and that the violations have been going on for a relatively long time, between six and twelve months. Against this background, the Gaming Inspectorate determines the penalty fee to SEK 20 million.”

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