On January 1, 2019, when new Swedish laws, regulations, and online gambling licenses took effect, the former Swedish gaming authority, Lotteriinspektionen, was officially renamed as Spelinspektionen, or Gambling Inspectorate, and placed in charge of overseeing all of the country’s licensed gambling operations.
It took the new regulating body little time to jump into action and show that it had serious intentions about making sure that all current and future laws and regulations were followed to the letter. On Tuesday, January 22, less than a month into its existence, Spelinspektionen issued its second letter of warning to all of the 66 companies currently licensed to operate within the country.
The regulator said that it had already received many tips and complaints about “deficiencies in gaming companies in several different areas.” Most of the problems found apparently had to do with self-exclusion issues, but they also reported that problems were evident regarding the “requirements for the design and clarity” of operators’ websites, especially those which use the Pay N Play system which allows players to play without registering for an account.
The biggest problems found by Spelinspektionen involved licensees who failed to check customers’ names against the Spelpaus self-exclusion register before they were either allowed to gamble or sent marketing materials inviting them to gamble — or both.
The Gambling Inspectorate also reminded licensees that all websites must prominently display the Spelpaus logo as well as other required safe gambling information links, and, of course, ensure that all of these links are active and functional. It was stated that any operator whose website does not meet these requirements will need to correct things “immediately” or they will face the consequences.
Enforcing New Gambling Regulation in Sweden
“One starting point for the new gambling regulation is that gambling should be channelled to responsible, reliable, and controllable players,” Spelinspektionen said. “Measures against illegal gambling are important. At least as important is that the operators who have a licence really follow the regulation.”
Somewhat surprisingly, this is not the first warning issued to Swedish gaming operators this year. A similar public warning was sent out on January 14 following multiple reports in Swedish media about self-excluded players gaining access to Swedish-licensed gambling sites. In that incident, 11 sites were found to have sent marketing materials to excluded players who appeared on the Spelpaus list and even allowed some of them to enter and gamble. Among those sites were some of the biggest names in the global industry such as Betsafe, Bwin, and Betsson.
The regulator has told online casinos that are already compliant with regulations that they can safely ignore the letter but asserted that all measures required to comply with regulations and licensing decisions should be “taken immediately” for those that currently fall short.
Spelinspektionen has confirmed that it will look to issue written warnings to non-compliant operators but future issues for failing to comply with regulations could result in financial penalties of up to 10% of a licensee’s turnover or even the complete revocation of their license.
Although nothing specific has come directly from Spelinspektionen, many believe that if problems continue among licensees as a group, a third warning will not be issued, and, instead, at least one violator will face harsh penalties intended to serve as a public example to others.