Grey areas surrounding judgements by Sweden’s Supreme Administrative Court have been clarified according to Gambling Inspectorate Spelinspektionen.
Over the past four years, 80 of the authority’s decisions have been tried against in court by the operators involved, with many related to offering betting markets on fixtures involving participants under 18 years old.
Notable examples include Zecure Gaming who in 2019 appealed against an SEK 3.5m (£280,000) fine, which was dismissed by the Court earlier this year, having been imposed for offering and accepting bets on an U17 football match.
Similarly, Flutter Entertainment sportsbook brand Betfair was hit with a SEK 4.5m (£357,158) penalty for underage gambling violations.
This too was appealed and later rejected on the same day as hearings from SkillOnNet and Betway were shut down – in the case of the latter two for offering features and bonuses in breach of requirements.
This one of many cases in which the Supreme Administrative Court rejected leave to appeal, upholding the decisions of the Court of Appeal and the Spelinspektionen’s penalties.
Under Swedish law, betting on U18 sports is illegal for both player welfare and match manipulation purposes, as authorities hold concerns that younger athletes are at greater threat from match-fixing and sports corruption.
The clarifications requested by the Spelinspektionen define an ‘event’ as also applying to individual matches, whilst the participants in a fixture are defined as those who are directly competing in the match i.e. starting players and substitutes.
Additionally, legal authorities have stated that the number of times a violation of the U18 gambling law and the proportion of minors participating in a fixture should be taken into account ‘in mitigating or aggravating to some extent’.
The Authority added: “It is of secondary importance if it can be established whether manipulation occurred. The same applies to whether and to what extent the offer attracted gambling.”
Should operators violate the requirements of Swedish gambling legislation around U18 betting markets, the Authority and the Court have agreed that ‘the ceiling of the penalty fee should be calculated on the licensee’s gross turnover’.
This means that the potential fine operators may face will vary according to their annual revenue, and so larger firms can expect heftier fines should they allow betting on minor tournaments.